This is a guest by post by Angela Norton Tyler, of Family Homework Answers. Angela is a teacher and parent from the Sacramento, California area. She has been a classroom teacher, an elementary school reading specialist, and has taught courses at the college level. With a special focus on helping parents help their children become better students, Angela has put her energies into teaching parents how to improve the homework and reading skills of their children. In 2005, Angela published Tutor Your Child to Reading Success, and now conducts seminars about reading and homework for parents and teachers all over the west coast of the United States. She also publishes Family Homework Answers, a site "devoted to helping parents and their children deal with homework."
Parents often approach me at workshops, at school or through my site wanting to know the best way to solve their family homework problems. They are tired of the tears, the fighting, the never-ending homework struggles. Parents have homework questions, and they want homework answers!
They want to know:
- What is the best time to do homework? - Where is the best place to do homework? - Is it okay to have the TV on during homework? The radio? - Should a child take a break during homework? How long? - How often should parents remind their children to do their homework?
These are all legitimate questions, but before I- or anybody else- can answer them, parents must understand their child's homework personality.
Homework personality? What?!?
Teachers and educators recognize that each student has an unique learning style. Some are visual or sight learners; others are auditory or hearing learners; and, kinesthetic learners learn best through touch. Good teachers try to incorporate all three of these learning styles into lessons so that every student has the opportunity to best grasp the material.
Your child's homework personality suggests the unique way in which he or she best studies, learns and does homework. What gets them in the "homework groove?" Where are they most comfortable in your home? When during the day are they the most relaxed yet productive? Do they work best alone or around others? When you are able to answer these types of questions, it is easy to set up a schedule and environment that best supports your child's homework personality.
Remember, every child is unique! What works for one of your children may not work for another! Some kids need absolute quiet in order to concentrate; others can work just fine in a noisy, crowded room. Some children should come straight home from school and get started on their homework, while others can wait a few hours- or even until the next morning. I've known families where one child does his homework at a desk in his bedroom, while his sister sprawls on the family room floor.
Last Sunday around 8 PM, I noticed my middle-school daughter sitting at the dining room table. She was completing a social studies assignment that wasn't due until later in the week. Now, that's not how I would have spent my Sunday evening, but I understand that my daughter cannot relax knowing that something (anything!) is due. Hmm. This got me to thinking...
Did my third-grade son have any homework?
He had no idea. He had forgotten his backpack at school.
Needless to say, my children have different homework personalities! One of them likes to come in and get started on her homework, the other one does not. One needs to be reminded to do his homework, the other one does not. Giving them the same homework rules, breaks, environment, etc. would not only be a waste of my time, it would frustrate and upset them (at least one of them!)
Take the Homework Personality Quiz and figure out how to best support your child's unique homework personality. The quiz a lot of fun, and it will really get you thinking about how your child works, learns and studies. Share your answers with your family members, make some decisions, and get ready for homework time to get a whole lot easier!