Special Education

How can parents help children with homework?

Set up a homework schedule

For some children, the task of deciding when to sit down and do homework may be too difficult. They may decide to do their homework after school or after dinner – it is a personal choice and has to do with learning style. However, once the time is determined, the schedule should be adhered to as closely as possible.

Ranking the assignments

For some children, the decision of what to do first becomes a major chore. They may dwell over this choice for a long period of time because for them everything has the same level of importance. Ranking assignments means that the parent determines the order in which the assignments are to be completed.

Do not sit next to your child while he does homework

Employing this technique may create a habitual helplessness because the same “assistance” is not imitated in the classroom. Parents serve their children better by acting as a resource person to whom the child may come up to with a problem. After the problem is solved or question answered, the child should return to his work area without the parent.

Mention the achievements first

When your child brings a paper for you to check, mention it to him/her how well he/she did on the correct problems. For the ones that are incorrect say, ‘I bet if you go back and check these over you may get a different answer.’

Never let homework drag on at night

The only thing accomplished by allowing a child to linger on his/her homework hour after hour with very little performance, is increased reasonable period of time and write the teacher a note explaining the feelings of inadequacy. If this occurs, end the work period after a reasonable period of time and write the teacher a note explaining the circumstances.

Discuss possible queries before your child begins reading a chapter

Discuss the questions to be answered before your child reads the chapter. This way, he/she will know what important information to look for while reading.

Check a small group of questions at a time

Many children can benefit from immediate gratification.

Have your child do five problems and then come to you to check them. Additionally, if the child is doing the assignment incorrectly, the error can be detected earlier and explained, preventing your child from doing the entire assignment wrong.

Record the textbook chapters

Research indicates that the more sensory input children receive, the greater the chance that the information will be retained. For instance, parents can place chapters of science or social studies on tape so that the child can listen along, while reading.

Be aware of negative non-verbal messages while supervising homework

Many messages, especially negative ones, can get communicated easily without your awareness. If children are sensitive, they will pick up these messages (raised eyebrows, inattentiveness) that can only add to their stress.

Avoid finishing assignments for your child

Children tend to feel inadequate when a parent finishes their homework. If a child cannot complete an assignment, and he/she has honestly tried, write a note to the teacher explaining the circumstances.

Be aware of the possible signs of other, more serious learning disabilities

Parents should always be aware of symptoms indicating the possibility of more serious learning problems. Many of these symptoms may show up during homework. If these symptoms present a pattern, contact the psychologist or resource room teacher for further assistance. Such symptoms may include constant avoidance of homework, forgetting to bring home the assignments, taking longer hours to do homework, procrastination of class work, low frustration tolerance, laboured writing, poor spelling, etc.

Check the homework assignments at the end of the day

This will reduce the child’s concerns over bringing incorrectly done homework to school. It will also offer children a feeling of accomplishment, a source of positive attention and a sense of security that the work is completed.

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