A network to share best practices for children with special needs
I bet just the mention of that word, homework, brings on hair-raising screams along with temper tantrums while flailing about in the middle of the floor! NO, not from your child – from YOU! That may be a slight exaggeration, but not much of one!
The homework battles begin. How much time do you and your child spend on homework each night? Let me guess- a minimum of two hours. By the time you finish, the night is gone and you both are so tired and frustrated that you feel like nothing has been gained but tear-streaked faces and scowls. This is certainly not the way you or your child want to spend your evenings. There is no family-time at all. So, what to do?
You are not going to want to hear this, but you need to hear it. You are not benefiting your child by sitting down right beside him and helping him complete his homework every night. Probably, your answer is that he cannot (or WILL not) do it without your help. You are not only making him dependent on you and preventing him from becoming an independent learner; you are also sending him the message that you do not think that he can do it without your help. So, in result, you cannot leave his side for one minute during homework time. If you have to go check on dinner, he stops until you get back! Am I right?
So how can you stop this habit that is causing discord in your family? I am going to give you a few tried and true strategies. If you tweek them to fit your situation, I assure you that homework time will not be the “ witching hour” that it is now! Please be aware that this is not an overnight fix! You must commit to consistency and follow-through! PLEASE do not get frustrated after the first couple of nights and give up. I assure you that these strategies work!
1. Have a discussion with your child. Tell him that homework time is changing. You are confident that he can do much of his homework without you sitting beside him the entire evening. SO…
2. Together go over the assignment to make sure he knows and understands the directions.
3. If the assignment is to read a selection and answer questions, you will FIRST read all of the QUESTIONS together (so he will know what to look for when reading); then, you will read the selection together. (This is up to you based on your child’s reading ability. If his reading ability is high enough for him to read a small part until he comes to an answer to one of the questions, then you are moving one step closer to independence). If not, read the selection and have him stop when he comes to an answer. Put a sticky note with the question number on it and continue reading. After you have marked all of the answers with sticky notes, have him write (or type) the answers independently. (Do the first one together, then you leave while he completes the remaining items independently).
4. If there is no reading of informational text required, do one or two of the questions/problems together to make sure he understands how to do it.
5. Tell him you are going to check on dinner; while you are gone, he will do the next question/problem and to call you when finished. He will be reluctant but encourage him to do it.
6. After he completes one successfully, have him complete two independently and so on.
7. Continue this strategy until you reach the point that you get him started on his homework, but he completes most of it independently.
I am sure you are saying this will never work. I promise you it will. It may take a while, but if you are consistent, you will no longer be enabling your child but preventing dependence!
The next level of fostering independence is to give your child "help coupons". Each time he asks for your help, it costs him a coupon......want to know more??? Let me know! There are MANY more steps and strategies to help you and your child win the homework battle!!
I will continue with homework strategies in future blogs as well as strategies for helping your child learn!
I would love to hear your homework battle stories! Write me and we will work together to overcome your greatest homework challenges.