Stop telling me what to do!

My "Summer" break lasted a little longer than I had planned.  Unexpected events took priority and extra time.

October is a good time, actually, to begin addressing some important issues.

Homework is always a big concern about this time of year as teachers and parents grapple with kids who are not, for whatever reason, successful in following through with their home responsibilities.

I thought I would start this year's blogs by putting out some tips for parents so they can better communicate with their students in a non-confrontational discussion to collaborate on how they can move forward and address some of the issues at hand.

The worst approach is to point the finger and tell your student what they should and should not be doing.  If your boss did that at work to you, what would your response be to him?  I probably can't print it here.😊

The first step:   to agree on and define the problem.

  I would suggest mentioning to your student that you have noticed (perhaps been told by teachers) that home work is not getting handed in.  Ask your student if they agree that this is a challenge for them.  There has to be agreement about what the problem is before it can be addressed.

If the student does not feel this is a problem, ask if the information you are being given or your own observations are incorrect.  Ask for some supporting evidence that the student's perspective is correct; perhaps returned homework papers.  Discuss why the History teacher is saying something different.  You notice I did not say "confront the student" about why the information you have and the student's perceptive are at odds with each other.

It is important that this is a discussion and not a confrontation.  Remember, for meaningful change to occur, students must feel that a discussion is not going to turn into a battle.  The goal is to create A No Judgement Zone around your discussions.

We talked in previous Blogs about using the Socratic method/Reflective questioning to help analyze  a view or a position.

Asking clarifying questions, rather than disagreeing, puts the focus of the discussion on the individual speaking not the person disagreeing.  Both parties must present evidence or details to support their views;  if the student asks why the parent feels homework is not being done, it is up to the parent to present a case to support that view.

Example:  So you think you are good in History.  Yet, I received a note from the History teacher with a list of missing work.  Can you help me understand what is going on here. Let's work together to figure this out. I know you can do this and I want to help you figure out why it isn't getting done.

If there is some consensus that Homework can be a problem on some days, perhaps, with some teachers, under certain circumstances, then the next part of step one is to determine  why that is happening.

Example:  Ok.  So you agree that some of these History assignments have not been handed in?   Is it possible they are in your back pack? On your desk.?  Can we look or are you sure they were not done?  Sometimes I have trouble doing work I bring home from the office.  I would rather watch TV or spend time with you kids.  Can you share with me why these assignments didn't get done?

Remember Rita Pearson in Blog 2.  Every child needs a Champion.  Be your students champion.  Help your student to evaluate why it is so difficult to start and complete some homework assignments and get them into school on time.  Some common problem areas:

  1. No defined, consistent work space
  2. A work space that has too many distractions
  3. A work space that does not have the proper supplies at hand
  4. Lack of confidence to do the work, so why bother?
  5. Lagging skills in managing the planner so that assignments are recorded accurately.
  6. Time Management (clock time vs real time)
  7. Putting together  and following a schedule that allows for prep and planning time.
  8. Conflict with a teacher
  9. A routine in the classroom that is making your student uncomfortable
  10. Peer conflicts
  11. Procrastination
  12. Organization issues
  13. A Planner that is not designed for the student and so fails to support the recording of data.
  14. After school activities/sports commitments
  15. Unrealistic/dysfunctional schedules
Remind your student that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing that is not working well, over and over and expecting a different result.

 Problems are solved when parent and student can work together, as a non-judgmental team to collaborate (each has an equal role in putting together a plan)  no matter what the age of the child.

Remember the post on Self-efficacy.  Please use every opportunity to state in as many ways as you can that the issue is NOT the students inability to do the work.  Instead, the problem rests with us, teachers and parents, to find the way that works best for the student.

Our perspective is this;   It is not a DIS-ability issue only an Ability issue that builds on strengths to do what needs to be done. There may be some skill gaps that we need to address, but that is on us.   We will find the way to success.

For those waiting for the Podcasting I spoke about last Spring,  I have so many people who are excited about this concept of networking with other educators, parents and students to share successes, challenges and questions.   It is a little more complicated than I thought, but it is in the works, I hope for the first of the year.

Next Blog will continue with Homework.  How do we set up a work space?  Where should it be?  What do we do about school problems that are impacting work getting done?  How do we speak with teachers or administration?  Do we include our student in the process?

Please if you have any questions, send them in and I will address them also.

Until the next Blog....thank for joining me.


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