Homework meltdowns are no fun. I have helped to inspire many students to prevent meltdowns and be able to complete homework successfully. I have an 8 step approach that takes a child through start to finish with great success. This article contains Steps 1 and 2 and focuses on helping your child remember to remember homework and the supplies to complete the homework.
Step 1: Strengthen Cognitive Skills Through Brain Training.
Brain training deals with building new neuropathways in your child's brain. It also deals with strengthening your child's cognitive skills. There are 6-7 domains of cognitive skills that every child needs to succeed in life. They usually fall into the domains of attention, logic/reasoning, processing, auditory analysis (inclusive of auditory processing), visual processing, auditory memory and visual memory. When any of the cognitive skills within these domains are weak, your child experiences learning differences.
Learning differences present themselves in a myriad of ways. As parents or teachers you usually see weak cognitive skills presenting as behavioral symptoms or problems with learning such as attention issues (inability to stay on task), not following directions, the need to have directions repeated, inability to remember what was read, the ability to remember what was read but the inability to infer from the data, inability to remember math facts, weak test taking skills, inability to "understand" what is being asked via print questions, and so on.
Once your child's cognitive skills within the 6-7 domains are strengthened, he/she is more conducive to learning. Since your child can now attend longer and better for example, the teacher's transfer of knowledge is being processed better and easier. Since your child can now remember more of what is being said, the teacher's verbal instructions do not need to be repeated. You get the idea now, right?
So, next time, when you have the urge to get frustrated with your child lack of attention or inability to follow your instructions to the tee, just reflect on the possibility that your child's cognitive skills need a tune-up. Just like your child's eyes and ears get checked annually, your child's brain processing abilities and skills need to be checked for learning success!
Your first step is to have your child's cognitive skills assessed online. The assessment is non-academic so it is not threatening to a child with learning differences. There is no academic achievement questions your child will have to face on this assessment. Your child's underlying ability to learn is assessed within 30-40 minutes with immediate feedback.
Every child I have worked with has great potential and is a champion. They just need a little help tapping into their great strengths! My Student Transformation System helps to Train your child's brain, Teach skills for School and Transform your child into an independent learner.
This brings us to Step 2 in my approach to homework success.
Step 2: Track and Pack
Theoretically, you have strengthened your child's neuropathways, cognitive skills and created a few new neuropathways along your journey. Your child is primed for learning. At this point of my process, I begin to help transfer the new stronger skills into the home and school. I will focus on the homework portion for this article.
To help your child be able to do homework, he / she must be able to "Track" the homework assignments throughout the day. At the very least, your child must be able to look over the assignment blackboard (depending on your child's age) at the end of the day.
How can you help your child to do this? Well, with stronger skills the task of tracking assignments is much easier. However, I will discuss using strategies for a child who does not have strong enough skills yet but they are in process of brain training.
For example, I usually perform what is known as a task analysis on every skill or behavior that the child is having difficulty with and is within the agreed goals of our program. So you know, a task analysis is a fancy name that teacher's will use when helping students learn steps or objectives to reaching a goal.
For students with weak skills, such as memory and sequential processing, remembering items in steps may be difficult. Therefore, teacher's may need to break down the steps of copying homework into the student's planner and place them on a list for the child to reference.
For example, you may prepare a short list for your child, tape it to their home study binder or homework folder. For student's with reading difficulties, you may use a picture to represent the desired outcome. Depending on your child's skills, the list may contain lines of text for every academic subject that states Step 1: "listen for homework assignment," Step 2: "write down homework assignment in planner."
A last line under each academic subject might be "pack books needed for today's homework into backpack." Some families choose, for the initial stages of this approach, to show a line that states "bring home all books from locker." You know your child best at this point to choose which is appropriate to help with remembering to track the assignments throughout the day.
A great tip is to create and order your list based upon the order of your child's classes. Also, as all my students are instructed to color code their subjects, you would create your list in the colors assigned to their subjects. For example, all math books are blue so the math reminder is in blue.
Do you have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) for your child? If yes, you can negotiate assistance by having either each teacher in every class ensure the homework is written down correctly or sign your child up for a study skills class. The study skills class usually helps your child be prepared for homework. Some schools will help your child with their homework, too.
For a child with very low skills, another approach is to use a specialized watch with 6 silent buzz alarms set for the end of each period. The alarm would be a signal or reminder to write down any homework for the day (if any was given). This was used for children with very weak attention and memory skills while working to strengthen said skills.
I used the watch approach for my daughter, Shannon, when she was required to use several cognitive skills that were in process of being strengthened. She was responsible to alert the teacher when it was time for her speech and reading therapy. Since Shannon could not tell time yet (i know it makes no sense right?) I gave her the buzzing watch.
Sometimes, you shake your head at what is being asked of your child. However, you can continue to work on the skill being requested while helping your child be successful in the meantime. We set the watch for the time of her scheduled speech and reading therapy sessions. Do you know the teachers were so impressed because not only did Shannon make it to her sessions on time, she reminded every other student, too.
There are two goals for creating a list to help your child remember to track homework and pack supplies. One goal is that by providing said language through written words on lists, the approach will eventually become automatic for your child. The second goal is that by strengthening said skills needed for these executive functioning skills, your child will not need a task analysis.
When the language becomes automatic due to strengthened skills you will see results. Your child will be able to jump from many small steps to the final steps of writing homework down in his/her planner and packing the necessary supplies for homework.
I hope you find these 2 steps to be helpful in helping your child be able to complete their homework successfully. I am happy to speak with you directly and answer your questions. Feel free to schedule your FREE 30 minute telephone consultation using my online calendar today!
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You may also want to check out the SOS Binder — it will take multiple binders that your child uses for school and create one binder!by