Submitted by: Amy Perez
Caregivers face a myriad of tasks and obstacles when it comes to making the best choices for the children in their care. Those choices then require appropriate actions to produce the desirable outcomes. One such task/obstacle caregivers encounter, for at least nine months of the year, is that of homework completion.
Homework can be a child’s best friend or their worst enemy. The history between the child and the homework can be an indicator of how that relationship will evolve over the course of the child’s academic adventure. However, if the relationship is one that produces undesired consequences, there are steps individuals can take to shape the relationship into a more pleasant experience for all.
First, caregivers and students should plan a set time each day to complete homework assignments. The planning should include the steps to identify which tasks within the homework hold priority for completion. Students should create a momentum with completing their assignments, by completing tasks they find easy before beginning a more challenging assignment. Additionally, the allotted time should include a predetermined amount and duration of breaks given during homework time. A chart or visual schedule can be created to provide the student with a visual aid to see when assignments are to be worked on, when the assignments are due, and when breaks can be given during homework time.
Next, caregivers and students need to decide on the location of a workplace free of distractions and contains ample supplies and tools to complete the homework tasks. Caregivers can assist the student in organizing the workplace in a way that best benefits the student. Furthermore, all homework directions and descriptions should be clearly defined and presented in terms that are familiar to the student. The student needs to understand the expectations aligned with each assignment and presented an opportunity to request clarification before and during homework completion.
Finally, sit down with the student and work on breaking apart the assignments into simpler, smaller assignments to assist in reducing resistance. The student may become more willing to begin and work through the homework if it is presented in a manner that is not intimidating or excessively long. When the students see that they are able to complete the smaller tasks, they are afforded the opportunity to provide themselves with praise. The student will be exposed to self-motivation which may increase their confidence in upcoming tasks. In addition, caregivers may monitor the student’s progress and supply reinforcement throughout the scheduled homework time. The reinforcement can include praise, high-five’s, a small treat, extra minutes added to a scheduled break, and so on. Once the assignments have been completed, reward the student with an activity (with set time prearranged) they find pleasing. Save big rewards for when the student completes big projects, papers, or assignments.
Homework does not have to be a battle; instead it can be a collaborative effort between caregivers and students. It will take patience and time to structure a routine, using the above steps, to reduce the negative association to homework time. Remember listening to the student is just as important as the student listening to you.