The most frequent complaints I hear from parents relate to homework. For some, their child doesn’t have enough homework to do. For others, too much. Sometimes the complaint is that the homework is too hard, or that teachers did not teach what is on the homework. Whatever the problem, homework time can be stressful.
Here are some strategies that might help you when your child is frustrated about his homework.
- Make sure that he understands the directions. Many times in the classroom a student will say, “I don’t know how to do this.” But when I ask him to read the directions to me, he actually does know how! I would venture a guess that most children don’t read the directions before starting a task.
- Refer to notes, handouts, and the textbook. Students want to be able to do their homework without taking the time to refer to the materials the teacher provided during class. Most homework is supposed to review the day’s lesson. Referring to the handouts and notes should be the first step.
- Ask your child if she read the pages in the book. Often homework begins with assigned reading. If she didn’t read it, it is likely she won’t be able to complete the work. If she is having trouble reading it, you might assist her.
- Allow your child to take a break if he is getting too frustrated or emotional. When emotions are out of control, the rational brain shuts down and it is impossible to do homework. Take a short break, do something fun and then return to the homework task.
Another homework-related problem is that a student has homework to do, but doesn’t know it. This is often the problem when students are disorganized or have problems paying attention in class. For these kids, it might help to enlist their teachers’ help in making sure they have written down the homework assignment before leaving each class.
If these tricks don’t help and homework is a problem every day, it is time to visit your child’s teacher to find out if he has an idea about what the problem might be. If the issues are serious, call the school psychologist for help.