Winning the homework wars
My child doesnt want to do homework. I dont understand how he can get away with that and achieve at school! He constantly complains that he doesnt understand the assignment or that he never studied that in class.He barely scrapes by and may be retained in the sixth grade this year because he is failing some subjects. Mrs. Harper explained that this was the reason why she brought her son to our office for an evaluation.What can a parent do to help? That is a question frequently asked of us and there are some things a parent can do to help.Kids who are underachievers often appear to be distractible and inattentive in class. Their work is disorganized and they need a lot of supervision to complete work. They are easily distracted by sights and sound and need to work in a very quiet place. They also put themselves down, calling themselves dumb or stupid, and need more support and positive counseling than their peers.Testing often shows that there is a specific learning problem preventing them from focusing their attention and learning by listening, reading or writing. The longer an assessment is delayed, the harder it is for them to learn to achieve.What does this have to do with homework? Everything. If a student cant concentrate, how can he complete assignments on time?He needs to plan his work and study time, and it may mean that a parent will need to be standing by. He may need assistance to avoid roadblocks to completing the task. Underachievers often give up trying when they meet obstacles along the way. If he has a reading problem, how can he read to learn (instead of learning to read)? He may need to read material aloud or have someone read it to him to understand its meaning.If he cant write easily, why would he risk failure and humiliation in front of his peers? He may need a parent to suggest ideas, ask him specific questions and help him outline what he is going to write. He may even need to tape an essay before writing it.If he has failed before why should he think he will succeed this time? He may need some positive thinking and encouragement to even try to accomplish the tasks. If he is disorganized, his search for sharpened pencils, paper, paper clips, a calculator or sticky pads will allow him to distract himself. He may need a date book or planner to keep track of assignments. Long-term assignments may need to be broken up into small steps, such as finding a book, reading, taking notes, writing an outline, taping answers to questions, listening to the tape and then writing with the tape deck as a secretary. Help him decide what must be finished first, second and third. Planning and prioritizing is a great problem for underachieving students. Try to offer help, set up a regular homework schedule and stick to it.The toughest job for parents is to avoid being manipulated into letting a child off the hook when it comes to homework. If your child is working on his assignments step back when you can. Kids like to assert their independence and need their space. This is probably the most difficult job for parents. Kids want your help but resent having to ask for it. Parents have to remember that they have already passed the sixth grade and give their kids space to grow.Vail, Colorado
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