‘Homework…The best way to make it Happen’ by Dyslexia Dublin © 2013
Imagine you have been sat all day in class and bombarded with lots of new things to learn, and then it’s time to go home and start to study all over again and then factor in your child with a learning need… not easy.
Get the teacher if possible to give your child their homework well before the class finishes, the best time is first thing in the morning as part of class…maybe the teacher will give a brief synopsis of the work required.
Homework should be part text and part visual, to stimulate the learners into doing it.
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Write homework requirements on a slip of paper for the individual to stick into their planner or, better still, have a colour coded homework notebook. If they have a SNA/Teacher, ask them to write this out with your child.
As parents, I would advise you to get the phone numbers of several parents and you can each do a ring around if one or other forgets the homework notebook, or you can’t understand what is required… this is also a good idea if your child is out sick so as not to fall behind.
Some colleges use Ethernet and this is great for putting up homework lists… schools will eventually start to use this technology.
It is so important for all family members to have agreed homework rules… get your children to draw up a list with you. Make sure all children are doing their homework at the same time… unless they are seniors. Disconnecting the router is a good idea as they will go onto the internet and play (if they are doing homework with a laptop). Agree who will help with the homework to reduce politics and conflict (mum or dad). Get this all right and the chore of home study will be easier for sure.
Be organised and keep to a routine, how will your children conform if you show little interest yourself? Use a different approach to helping… use prompts and be ahead of their homework… telling them you don’t know the answers will make them feel that they can survive without achieving.
Reinforce the positive points… “Wow! 19 out of 25 in your spellings!... well done!. Maybe If we take a look at them you might get 25, wouldn’t that be great!!!” rather than “19 out of 25… which 6 did you get wrong?” which is very negative. Positive remarks are great, for example – “I was reading your homework last week, it was tough but you stuck at it… well done!”. Also, expect days when they are under the weather, they might have had PE and are genuinely exhausted (teachers might consider this point and give homework passes (dyspraxic children tire quickly).
Parents should ensure that homework is completed before any other distractions get in the way… make sure they have water to drink as they would have at school, dehydration causes fatigue. Let your child relax after they finish their homework and remember, homework is more important than extra-curricular activities.
Get your children to do the subjects they find harder first, as they will be more focussed.
Make sure the individual (son/daughter) knows the system for handing in homework.
It is far better if the schools can frontload the homework, as we all know by nature children tire as the week progresses.
For teachers and form tutors, prompt individuals to hand in homework as part of a regular routine and treat the reading/marking of homework and also feedback on the homework, as important as class work, as students put in so much effort into doing their homework.
Some teachers get the children to check each other’s homework and mark accordingly. This can lead to inaccuracies and possibly even falling out, if mistakes are made with the marking (are they old enough to accept this responsibility?).
Help the individual to set up a timetable to show when homework should be handed in.
Work with parents to set up a system at home so the individual can plan ahead, particularly for project work.
Before giving a detention for missing homework, try to find out why homework hasn’t been completed.
Parent Teacher Meetings - maybe include a Homework Workshop, where individuals can raise concerns or issues they're having around homework and schools could give guidance and helpful tips.
One more thing… find out if your child is following the curriculum…this will help you gauge if they are doing foundation or ordinary level and the direction they are heading in for their state exams. This will give you an opportunity to purchase additional resources, in line with the curriculum, ie. past exam papers, etc.
we have helpful homework resources at www.dyslexiadublin.ie
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All our posts are for advice and guidance only… always seek professional advice. Toby Lee, Dyslexia Dublin (CETC) © 2013