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coping with chronic homework problem

by on November 9, 2011

When your child consistently fails to complete homework assignments, you need to step in. Can your child usually complete assignments with extra assistance and encouragement? On most evenings, children should be able to complete assignments independently. If they seem to require more help from you than you think is reasonable, it’s time to schedule an appointment with their teacher.

Explain your concerns to the teacher. Ask if your child is able to complete similar assignments in class. Keep in mind that if your child has weak academic skills, you should anticipate that homework will continue to be a problem until your child catches up.  Even if your child is behind grade level, you may need to set up a plan with the teacher to get your child back on track with homework, possibly modifying the amount of homework until your child catches up to grade level.

A plan for improvement
While your children’s specific plan for improvement must accommodate their unique circumstances, there are several key principles to follow in setting up that plan.

* Your children’s homework is their responsibility. Your child needs to know what the assignments are, when they are due, and how much time to plan to complete them.

* Establish clear expectations. What do you and the teacher expect your child to do? Make these expectations clear, and make sure your child understands that you and the teacher are working together to define them. Often a meeting involving you, your child, and the teacher is the best setting to establish expectations.

* Establish clear consequences. Determine what will happen if your child fails to meet the expectations you and the teacher have established, and let your child know what consequences to expect. Identify several activities or privileges your children enjoy every day. When they meet the established expectations, they continue to enjoy their activities or privileges. When they don’t, some or all may be suspended. When you must suspend privileges, do so matter-of-factly, without anger or emotion. Be consistent.

* Stay connected with your child’s teacher. A simple “note home” system is an easy and effective way to know whether your child is meeting established expectations. Your child’s teacher just sends home a short note each day telling you whether your child has completed and turned in assignments.

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From → Education, Homework

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