The homework is increasing, kids are frustrated, families unravel in the evenings. How can we make homework and our evenings less complicated. There are many ways.
Remember, if you have any type of assessment, this is helpful. Figure out what the assessment uncovered about your child’s learning, it will give you clues to supporting your child at home. But, the assessment does not reflect the context of the classroom or the home. Different settings = different stressors.
Next, start with strengths. It’s that easy. Think about what your child is good at. Let’s start with me. When I was in elementary school, I could not follow the teacher’s VERBAL lesson or ORAL DISCOURSE – I was a “day dreamer” and I was anxious. Listening was challenging, I would tune out, I would miss many important items. I than struggled to do any independent work in the classroom or at home, related to that specific lesson. But, if I had a textbook, worksheet, lesson plan in front of me – I dived into the lesson easily. It was visual, it was chunked, no interactional stressors...my understanding and learning was solid.
You get the idea, right? So begin to deconstruct your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Think about “learning channels” – how the information gets received or “inputed” and what is required for “out-put.” Again, with the above example- “hearing- doing” was challenging for me. But ‘seeing-doing” was much easier. So, your child may have questions to answer from a passage. What is easier for your child? To “read passage -- write answers” or “read passage--say answers?” Your child may have math problems to complete, should this homework be “see problem-write answer” or “see problem- say answer” (the parent writes the answer).
Homework is for practice- so keep it short. Really short! If your child needs to learn math facts, then 2-3 minutes with the 7x tables is enough.
If you are spending most of your time teaching concepts, you have to ask WHY. Speak to the school.
Every child should be reading in the evenings. And this means reading anything. Graphic novels and Holiday catalogues count. If your child is reluctant to “see text-read out loud”, then turn the reading into “hear story- follow along”. Differentiate!
There are 100’s of ways to “differentiate” homework. Think about strengths and capitalize on these strengths. Your child will be more willing and happier!
Empower, engage, educate.