As discussed from last week's article, homework meltdowns are not fun. I discussed how the leading cause of homework trouble is really weak cognitive skills. However, once the skills are strengthened your child needs to be instructed on how to approach the homework process.
I developed an 8 step process that takes a student from confusion to organized and independent in no time. Last week I discussed step 3 of my process. This week I will discuss Step 4 – Prioritizing Homework Assignments.
Step 4 of my process is to "prioritize" homework assignments. Most children simply open their planner/agenda and begin their assignments starting at the top of their list. Sometimes, by luck, this approach works just fine. However, it usually leads to messy workspace and books piled on the table around your child. Your child is confused and overwhelmed instead of calm and organized.
What your child really needs during this step is to have you provide the "language" and model the associative behavior to prioritize the assignments. Think about when you, as an adult, pays your bills. Most likely, you will gather your bills, prioritize which needs the most attention, regardless of your predetermined plan or budget, take all the bills out of their envelopes and pile them according to the order you have determined works best for you. You then have your supplies needed to pay each bill whether that be your check book and ledger or your computer. All of these steps are done automatically and silently as you begin your process of paying your bills.
Your child, however, has never been taught how to "prioritize" assignments yet. You can provide this "script" or language to your child until it becomes automatic.
Simply sit with your child and ask:
- "Which assignments must be completed today?"
- "Of these assignments, which do you feel you can do by yourself?"
- "Of these assignments, which do you feel you need assistance with?"
There is more to consider in the process that I take students through but you get the idea now, right? Based off of the answers to these questions, you proceed accordingly.
For example, if your child does not feel any assignment can be completed without your help, then you need to step your child through asking for your availability. When you work through the homework with your child, be observant if they do really need your help with the content or is it more about the approach.
If you feel it is about the approach, then you need to step back further from the above questions and perhaps break out the question around needing assistance to create yet another layer of task analysis. Create questions, script and then model the behavior of your new task analysis for your child.
For example, perhaps you create language and steps similar to the following:
- "Let me look at my first assignment. It says, complete the math problems on worksheet A."
- "Let me take out my worksheet A and look it over."
- "I think Worksheet A looks fine. I will do a few problems on my own and see how it goes."
Get the idea? Some children need to have everything that comes automatic for you, the adult, broken down and taught. This is called approach to task with task analysis. This approach works very well for children who have difficulty with memory, attention and sequential processing and are in the process of strengthening their skills.
If your child has not had brain training yet, I strongly recommend that you look at my programs sooner than later. As you are preparing for brain training, I would recommend that you create this script/steps onto a checklist format for your child. This will alleviate and compensate around weak memory, attention and sequential processing.
If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below. I would be happy to speak with you in detail on how my programs may help to transform your child into an independent learner. Go ahead and schedule your FREE 30 minute consult today.
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