By GreatSchools Staff
There’s a time and place for expert opinion, but sometimes the best practical wisdom springs straight from real life. GreatSchools is proud to introduce “What Worked,” a new series featuring tips and tales tapped directly from the source: fellow moms and dads. From facing down mean girls (and boys) to helping with homework horrors, GreatSchools members recount their child-rearing adventures in the hopes that what worked for them just might work for you. At the very least, we hope these short takes will inspire you to try new, creative tactics tailored to your child’s needs.
For our first edition, we asked parents to share ideas for boosting kids’ learning. One mom recommends letting children do a fun activity before starting homework, while another noticed a link between her daughter’s concentration and jump-roping activity. Read on for more tricks for your elementary school child.
Do you dread homework as much as your child? With a little imagination, these parents transformed the sometimes haunted hour by injecting playful projects and breaks into their children’s mental calisthenics and thus bringing some balance to their at-home learning:
Immediately after school, have a snack or light meal prepared. Allow your child to have a fun activity either at home or at the park for about 15 or 30 minutes Then jump into your usual homework routine. Depending on how much homework your child has, you may want to allow 15- to 20-minute breaks in between, so as not to wear the child out. — by MrsDME
The breaks between homework assignments are especially helpful for my guy. I often encourage him to get up, run around, and do jumping jacks. Movement restarts the brain and helps kids concentrate and perform better. I also make sure my son is working in a quiet area and has access to resources. If he has everything he needs within arm’s reach, he is more likely to use strategies rather than just wing it. — by Michellea
My daughter was about to start the third grade and really needed to practice her writing. We'd taken a few short trips this summer, and any chance we had, we would buy a few postcards. Every day she was asked to write to a different grandparent or cousin and tell them about our day. She never thought of it as writing practice at all! — by suzanny
Research has found that exercise helps kids succeed in school by improving their concentration levels. Check out these parent-approved experiments that combine brainpower and brawn:
This may sound weird, but I've figured out that intense physical activity changes my daughter's math abilities. Recently, the family got into jump-roping for exercise, and my 8-year-old daughter started to join in, doing intense little workouts before school.
She'd been having trouble in math — both in terms of doing the work accurately and keeping up with the in-class assignments. She said she never had enough time to finish. But that week she said something weird happened: For the first time, she was the first to finish her in-class math work. Plus her accuracy shot up.
It didn't surprise me that being physically active could help you focus. But the results were so extreme that it still seems amazing. Since then, we've been pretty good about emphasizing her athleticism — but I think it only works if she exerts herself within a few hours of doing the academic work. — by Carol Lloyd
My mother, who was a teacher, used to make us run around the block or the perimeter of the house a couple OF times before we sat down to do our homework. There's nothing like a little physical activity to help your child sit down and focus. — by tjlove
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.