Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

End The Homework Nightmare In Five Easy Steps

on October 10, 2013

Even in the most well-functioning families under ideal circumstances, homework can be one of the biggest contributors to a parent-child crisis. If you are like most parents, you feel a mixture of emotions about the homework challenge. Some of them are positive, but many of them are unpleasant. You can turn those negative feelings into positive ones by following the 5 Steps To End The Homework Nightmare.

1. Adapt the Home Physical Environment
Choose an appropriate place free of distractions (pets, video games, TV, friends, etc.).
Develop a routine. Set a regular homework time and stick to it.
Supply a homework survival kit (sharpened pencils, pens, markers, crayons, ruler, scissors, etc.).
Put up a “DO NOT DISTURB Sign – no kidding!!!! The visual cue emphasizes the seriousness and importance of the task at hand.

2. Identify Tasks That Your Child Can Do Independently
Choose the easiest assignment first. It will build confidence and set the tone for the homework session.
Use assoociation techniques. Address nonmastered skills by associating the material with something that is already known. (e.g. If you can spell book, spell cook. Just change the first letter. 2 thousand pounds = one ton. A compact car weighs about 2 thousand pounds.)
Set goals for homework completion. Use a clock or a timer to help kids develop a sense of timeliness for required tasks.

3. Give Direction And Guidance For More Difficult Tasks
Separate text from graphics. Start with the graphics. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Reverse roles. You become the student. The child becomes the teacher. When your child explains the concept and gives details to you, it is one of the best ways to fortify his learning.

4. Accept responses As Genuine Effort
We all don’t function on full capacity 24/7. Your kid, who appears to be lazy, may be just plain tired from a busy day at school. Poor handwriting may be the result of not having proper lines on the paper, or perhaps there’s not enough space for the answer, or the writing is too large for the space provided.
Express affirmation for diligence. If your young one is tired or frustrated by the length of the assignment, you could offer to read alternate paragraphs. Your child may also do the even numbered assignments in math or spelling, and you could help with the odd numbered ones. If you ever happen to use this approach, it is in the best for all concerned that you mention your child’s frustration level to the length of the assignment when doing homework with his teacher. Perhaps the skill needs to be modified or retaught.

5. Focus On The Goal Of The Assignment
Keep in mind the focus of the assignment. Do not let poor skills in reading, spelling, or math interfere with the intended goal of the lesson and homework assignment. By telling your child an unknown word or numeral, you are permitting your youngster to gain knowledge and locate an answer rather than teaching reading mechanics. In this way, you are fosterong a possible liking for social studies, math, or science rather than a dislike for reading.

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