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It’s homework time again and there’s nothing but tears, refusal, arguments, tantrums, meltdowns or complete avoidance and procrastination. Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Why does homework have to be such an epic battle every night?
It’s important for parents to think about why homework may be a challenge for your child, so you can develop homework strategies to support them get through the work at home.
Homework can be challenging, difficult and down-right painful in some households, especially for students with learning difficulties. So, why does even the smallest amount of homework have to be such a big problem? Firstly, let’s look at some of the possible reasons as to why your child is reacting in such a challenging way. One of the most compelling explanations is that they are totally and utterly exhausted after school. The self-regulation required to maintain composure over a full school day can be both emotionally and physically draining for all young children, and even more so for those with learning difficulties. Schoolwork in itself is a big challenge for children with learning difficulties as they often see, hear and understand things differently. They can experience problems with math, reading, writing, reasoning, listening and speaking and generally have to work harder to keep up with their peers. By the end of the day children with learning difficulties are totally exhausted, so they really don’t have much emotional energy left in the tank to invest in doing homework.
Also, for children with learning difficulties, there is a high chance that they have not completely understood the work itself or the actual instructions to complete the homework. This can be distressing for them and can escalate matters even more so when they have to explain it to their parents. If your child already needs extra time to complete work, takes longer to process the task, or is a slow writer – it’s no wonder they are protesting about doing additional work at home.
Children with learning difficulties may also have a lot of pent up anxiety over their perceived lack of academic skills at school and as a result, homework becomes a huge source of stress for them. Many children with learning difficulties often have poor self-esteem and low confidence and experience high level of stress and anxiety. Sometimes this anxiety is only compounded by unrealistic expectations and stress from parents at homework time.
Doing homework is important in establishing life-long learning skills and study habits. It requires self-discipline, independence, organisational skills and time management. Completing homework can give children a sense of responsibility and plays a vital role in developing a strong work ethic. It is also important for practicing, extending and consolidating work done in class.
The NSW Homework Policy states that all schools should have their own policies regarding homework. These policies are made after schools consult with their teachers, parents and the community and should be:
Regardless of your own belief about whether children should be doing homework or not, if your child attends a school with a homework policy that states that homework must be completed; then it is vital that you play a supportive, and positive role in ensuring they complete it. Children shouldn’t believe that home and school are on opposing sides of the fence as this alone can cause stress and anxiety around the issue.
Here are some homework strategies to help it run as smoothly as possible:
There is no question that homework for children with learning difficulties can be extremely challenging, but it certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With careful planning, communication and collaboration between the teacher, parent and student; the homework experience can grow to be positive, manageable, and possibly even enjoyable! By making just a few tweaks to the homework routine and embracing a positive mindset can make the world of difference in your child’s life. This alone has the potential to positively impact their future study habits in ways you can’t even imagine.
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NSW Government: Homework Policy Guidelines
All Means All: Your Child’s IEP – Guide for Families
LD Online: Homework Help