Is Homework an Issue at Your House?
Is there a nightly struggle at your house to complete assignments sent home from school? Are you ready to find a better way to support your child’s education without the drama and contention? It is possible to watch your child learn, grow and succeed academically without the stress and conflict.
Here are five areas to explore to help you find a solution that works for your family.
Do you have the best educational setting?
When a child has problems in school, the natural assumption is there is something wrong with the child. However, it is also possible that the setting is not a good fit.
Children have different learning styles. Using workbooks and sitting at a desk is not effective for all students. Some children learn best when they are outside or able to move about freely.
I have witnessed cases of students who could not function in a traditional classroom but thrived in a more informal setting using a student-driven curriculum.
We live in an age of school choice in the United States and in many other countries as well. In addition to the local public school, there are charter schools, private schools, parent coops and homeschool. What setting works best for your family? You will need to consider the family schedule, transportation options, and budget as well as the academic needs of your child. Be prepared to get creative and ask around. You may find other parents with similar concerns who are willing to combine resources such as a carpool.
I wrote the book, Navigating the Educational System: 5 Strategies to Get the Best for Your Child that explains this process and the steps to take in detail.
Check out the options in your community and select the best educational setting for your child.
How does your child learn?
Did you know there are at least 7 different learning styles? Most people use more than one and, when we are motivated to learn new material, we adapt. It is not always so simple for children, however. Some respond best when new information is presented in their preferred style.
Visual learners do best with diagrams, graphs, and images, while auditory prefer hearing. Verbal learners love words. They benefit from reading and writing, while kinesthetic learners need hands-on experiences. Logical learners look for the patterns and connections. They have a mathematical brain. If you learn best as part of a group, you have a social learning style. And if you prefer solitude for studying, you are an intrapersonal learner.
Everyone learns best when new information is presented to them in at least one of their learning styles. Identify your children’s learning styles for more effective communication while helping them with their homework.
How is the communication between home and school?
Children learn best when there is a positive rapport and spirit of cooperation between home and school. If communication is poor, students may be tempted to play the adults in one setting against the other. When there is contention and discord, it adds to the child’s stress and makes learning more difficult.
Do you feel understood and respected when you communicate with your children’s school? Is it easy to reach an agreement? Is the focus on the best interests of your child? Or has it become a contest of adult egos?
Remember the relationship between home and school is two-way. People are more likely to listen to you when you listen to them. Treat others with respect and appreciation to receive the same in return.
You can be proactive in forming a rapport with the personnel at your children’s school. Everyone responds more favorably to appreciation than criticism. Begin with gratitude for their support in your child’s education.
If problems arise during the school year, it will be much easier to focus on what is best for your child when there is a relationship of trust and mutual respect. Challenges are more easily overcome when addressed by people with a common goal.
Form a synergistic team with the teachers and staff at your children’s school.
What is your structure for homework?
Does the word “homework” have a negative connotation in your family? It can be a serious stressor in some homes. And yet there is a way to use this to your child’s advantage.
Begin with a designated time and place for homework with appropriate incentives. Bring your positive attitude about learning and achieving. Provide encouragement and praise.
You can also make sure that you are communicating your child’s needs to their teacher. If you see that the assignments sent home are not a match with what is best for your child, discuss this with their teacher. The purpose of homework is to reinforce what they have learned in school. Suggest alternative activities that demonstrate your child’s understanding of the material.
Use homework as an opportunity to become actively involved in your children’s learning.
What are your priorities for your children’s education?
Are grades a major issue in your family? Naturally as a parent you want your children to be successful.
High academic scores are helpful in acquiring scholarships and admission into more competitive universities. However, when was the last time someone asked to look at your high school transcript?
Employers are more interested in performance. Our world is changing so quickly that the ability to learn and relearn is far more important than memorized data. The love of learning is more valuable than a 4.0 GPA.
If grades are a source of contention and stress for your children, how will that impact the love of learning they were born with? Children are natural learners, but that can change after a multitude of negative experiences.
Rather than focusing on grades, consider measuring progress. Celebrate every win, no matter how small. Praise effort and express appreciation for your child’s willingness to learn something new. End every homework session on a positive note.
Don’t let grades interfere with your child’s love of learning.
For more parenting tips, attend my show, “Healing Your Families,” live on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm Pacific Time or watch the replays.
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Or visit my website.