Parenting Vivian | 27 Jun 2011 03:39 am

Helping Your Child With the Homework Load: Six Ways Parents Can Get Involved

For some children, the biggest homework problem they have to solve is the volume they have to manage. Following are six specific ‘jobs’ for parents that will help keep things moving when the work load is weighty. These tips are especially useful with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism or LD issues.

1. Be your child’s Admin Assistant. For example, to lighten the writing load, your child dictates while you type at the computer. Print it out and paste into a notebook if that is where the answers are supposed to show up.

2. Get them talking on the subject. If she抯 stuck starting something creative in nature, such as a story or essay, coach her to stockpile any and all knowledge, ideas or feelings she has on the topic, no matter how little or how silly. You may be amazed at how a plan begins to bubble up and how thoughts flow when your child expresses them aloud first.

3. Chunk down the tasks. Help your child see a big workload as a series of manageable steps. Putting a title at the top of a blank piece of paper is often the first laborious step that flows to the next and the next. It抯 the good old: 揕ittle by little.?and 揙ne step at a time.?/p>

4. Create visual tools. Colored sticky notes are the greatest invention for visible goal setting. As assignments come in, each title gets its own sticky note. Color code according to due date or subject or what makes sense. Post on the wall. As the assignments are completed, another sticky comes down and satisfaction goes up. Incentives, rewards and break time can be built into the conquering of each sticky noted assignment.

5. You do the busy work while your child does the thinking work. For a display project, you can help move it along by cutting and gluing. For math, you can copy questions into the notebook, leaving space for your child fill in answers. (Most teachers will support this accommodation especially for students who struggle with LD issues. You can check with the teacher on this by sending a note with the homework if that would be more comfortable for you.)

6. Help your child keep his work area and tools organized–just enough. A tidy workspace clears thinking space in the brain. Create enough system so your child has what he needs within easy reach. Do not over-do organization; kids function differently in what adults consider clutter or bedroom chaos. Do stay involved. For a good habit of organization to take hold, parents need to coach until it is officially a habit. Be careful your support does not turn into nagging. Find strategies that work for your child to take charge of his systems.

For more on Homework see companion article:
Homework: Six Strategies to Prevent Your Child from Getting Into Overwhelm

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