5 Tips For Helping a Child Struggling with Homework

Though some progressive schools around the country have taken steps to eliminate homework, it still remains a fixture in the lives of most students. Homework can also be the source of much household suffering, either due to a refusal to complete assignments that ultimately affects academic performance or a difficulty completing the work. Before you throw in the towel altogether, give these five suggestions a try in order to get the students in your family back on track.

  1. Nip Excuses in the Bud – Kids will come up with remarkably creative excuses to get out of doing their homework, especially if they’re having trouble with the work or are eager to pursue activities that they enjoy. Refusing to accept excuses and establishing a routine of completing homework on a set schedule can make a noticeable difference in homework struggles that are built around kids’ efforts to evade homework. When your child knows that his efforts to avoid his homework will not be effective, he’s more likely to direct his energy elsewhere.
  2. Verify Kids’ Claims – Two of the most popular ways of getting out of homework is to claim that it was completed during free time or that there was none assigned. While actively showing distrust for your kids’ claims can be detrimental to their self-esteem, it’s still a good idea to make sure that you establish a system of verifying their claims in regard to homework. Making it routine to go over assignment planners or to check homework together can help you ascertain just how much homework your child has without actively accusing him of being dishonest.
  3. Work on an Incentive Plan – For many kids, homework just doesn’t seem to serve much of a point. There’s no tangible payoff for the time invested in filling out those worksheets or writing assigned papers, so it can understandably seem like a waste of time to them. There’s a fine line between creating an incentive plan and bribing your child to do the things he’s supposed to do, but it is possible. When your child is able to connect his hard work and all the effort he’s putting into his homework with actual, tangible results, he may change his tune. Making sure that your child understands how his grades are connected to the effort he puts in and that there are rewards for doing his very best in school is important.
  4. Establish a Line of Communication with Teachers – Whether you’re looking for verification of assignments or looking for the best way to help a child that’s having trouble with his schoolwork, it’s important to make sure that you’ve established and are actively maintaining an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. Kids that want to do their best in school, but find it difficult to grasp the work, can easily become frustrated and lose their interest in academia altogether. Working with his teacher to find the best way of helping him overcome his difficulties is essential, especially if your child’s frustration is reaching a level that’s difficult to manage.
  5. Get to the Root of the Problem – The most effective way of helping your child overcome a homework struggle is to find the root of the problem and address it directly. If he’s having trouble focusing or grasping the material and is avoiding it because he feels that it’s above his skill level, work with him until he’s feeling more confident. It’s also important to swallow your pride and ask for help yourself if you need to. Not only have teaching methods changed since your own school days, but skills that you haven’t used in decades can become rusty. When you’re able to work with your child one on one to determine his individual learning style and needs, you’ll be able to tailor your approach to homework help accordingly.

In some cases, it may be necessary to consider working with a tutoring program to give your child the extra attention that he needs to succeed to the best of his abilities. Helping your child reach his full potential is your job as a parent, even if doing so requires you to take measures you wouldn’t expect. You may also want to discuss persistent problems with a specialist, especially if you suspect a learning disability that requires special care. In such cases, many young students’ academic performance improves significantly after the appropriate measures are taken to help him work around the roadblocks he’s encountered.

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