In an earlier post I mentioned that there are some students who need to have their homework assignments modified for one reason or another. If your child is really struggling with homework, consider whether modifying their homework assignments might help. Keep in mind homework modifications may be temporary if low skills can be remediated. For other children such as those with physical disabilities, the modifications may need to be permanent. There are many possible modifications to make. One way is to reduce the length of assignments.
If your child is truly working but it takes too long to get their work done, they might benefit from shorter assignments than the rest of the class. To figure out whether they are actually working (as opposed to daydreaming), time how long your child works. This is easiest if you have two stopwatches or timers. Start one when your child begins work and leave it running until the homework is finished. Start the second timer when she begins, but stop it every time she is distracted or taking a break. (Restart it when she begins working again.) In this manner, you know the total length of time she spends appearing to do homework as well as the actual time she is working.
If there is a huge difference between the time on the two stopwatches, your child is having trouble focusing their attention. That is a different issue, but also needs to be addressed. (Read Tips To Help Children Focus on Homework.)
If you feel the actual time working is an unreasonable length of time for the age your child is, ask her teacher if this is what is expected. I have heard that the recommended time is about ten minutes per grade level. So a first grader has ten minutes of homework and a second grader has twenty minutes. Show your child’s teacher how long she works on homework. At my school, we have several students who either receive shorter assignments (the teacher crosses off problems they do not have to do), or they are asked to stop working after a certain length of time. You might need to request these modifications for your child.
If low skills are the reason for the problem with homework this modification will no longer be needed when the skills improve. So, make sure that your child is getting help to improve low skills, as well. Stay tuned for more ways to modify homework.