Blog #7 Homework Saga , Continued

I recently found this and felt it was too good not to share given our current topic.  

The Parent's Homework Prayer

Homework and I have irreconcilable differences.

Please grant me the serenity to accept the Homework I can not change

.......the courage to support my child to complete it the best I can  

.....and the strength to finish it without either of us ending up in a body bag.

My guess is that, as parents, we have experienced these thoughts on more than one occasion.  

Let's review the first step, from the previous Blog, in addressing homework issues:

Step one A-Mention to your student your concerns about homework and any observations you have on this topic.  Share any communications from the teachers that relate.  Ask your student his/her perspective on the topic.  

If the student does not agree that homework is a struggle, ask for their interpretation of the information you shared (your observances and teacher feedback in a non-confrontational manner).  If the consensus is that there may be some struggles associated with homework, then  move to part B of Step one.
If there is not a consensus, say the door is open for further discussion should they want to work together.  Remember: this is not about confronting your student.  The purpose is to open a dialog. 

Step one B-  Help your student examine why Homework is an issue.  Refer to the previous Blog for some suggested areas of concern.

Step two-  Make a list of the concerns that you and your student have pinpointed and written down that affect the initiation of homework, the follow through, and the track to the teacher.

Pick one or two ( I like to pick one that can be addressed easily and one that requires more planning) and work on those.  

For example, a major issue may be that the student  has difficulty initiating homework.  Break it down with your student.  He/she may spend too much time gathering materials, prioritizing assignments, clearing a space to work,  or dealing with distractions.

You are teaching your student important skills in addressing a challenge, but, you are also letting them know that the collaborative process is an important step in  solving the roadblocks we face.

Initiating homework is a large issue and may take some time to develop.  Together you will decide what component of the struggle you want to address. Together you will make a list of possible approaches that would address the problem.  Then you  prioritize which ones you want to try first.   If one does not work, try another.  It is not about who was right or who was wrong. It is about working together and pursuing a solution that is successful.

A simpler problem on the list could be the planner that is used to record the homework.  Your student may have difficulty with the organization of the assignment book he/she has or that is required by the school.   But, if in speaking with your student, you realize that the way this planner is organized does not work for your child, it is an easy step to go to Staples and let your student pick out one that works best for his/her approach. Again, this should be done after you have made a list of the characteristics you will be looking for in a new planner.

Problematic areas of concern might include the following:   Some students write very large and there is not enough room for them to put in all in the designated space for one day.  Other students find too may distractions on the page or too many (or not enough) days displayed at one time.   You may then need to go to school and talk to the teachers or administrators and explain your intervention with your student.  For long term assignments that get lost in the planner, a white board hung in the room works great.  But we will get into how to use this later.

Remember the Cognitive Triad of CBT.  The goal of these first few steps are threefold.

  1. To change your students thinking concerning your judgement of him/her as more accepting and less judgmental.
  2. When we change the student's thinking about how we view them, we allow them to relax and share their feelings.
  3. When we understand their feelings we better understand their behavior choices.

In the next Blogs we will discuss how to set up a study space, how to best organize this space, the importance of having one and the schedules that drive the weekly routine.

Have a good week and thank you for joining me.  Please share any questions, concerns or experiences you may have so we can address them in future Blogs.


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