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Behavior Makeover: Homework Battles

Eight Strategies to Ease Homework Pains
Use the following strategies as a guide in helping your kid become a more successful and independent learner:
  1. Create a special homework spot. To help your kid gain a sense of the importance of homework, set aside a special place just for him to work. Any place that has good lighting and is reasonably quiet is fine. Then have your kid help stock it with necessary supplies, such as pens, pencils, paper, scissors. a ruler, a calculator, and a dictionary. If you don't have a desk, store supplies in a plastic bin or box. It will help your kid get organized.

  2. Know the teacher's expectations. Check with the teacher periodically throughout the year so you're clear on her homework expectations. For instance, when are test dates communicated? When is library day? Are there spelling tests each week? When are book reports due? Are reports to be typed or handwritten?

  3. Set a routine from the beginning. Select a time that works best for your kid – after school, before dinner, after dinner – and then stick to it. You may want to post your agreement in a visible place. Drawing a clock face of the time is helpful for younger kids.

  4. Communicate that homework is not an option. From the beginning, maintain a firm, serious attitude. Your kid needs to know that homework has to be done well. There is no choice.

  5. Teach planning skills. Show your kid how to make a list of what needs to be done each night in order of priority. He can then cross each item off as it is done. A young child can draw a different task on paper strips, put them in the order he plans to complete them, and then staple the packet together. Each time a task is finished, your child tears off a strip until no more remain.

  6. Offer help only when it's realty needed. If your kid is having difficulties, help her understand the work by making up similar problems and showing her step by step how to do it. Then watch her try to do one on her own. Asking her to show you her completed work at the end of each row or section is another way to ensure she's following the directions correctly but not relying on you for every detail.

  7. Divide the assignment into smaller parts. Breaking up homework into smaller chunks is often helpful for kids who have difficulty sticking to a task or seem overwhelmed with an assignment. Just tell your child to do "one chunk at a time." You can increase the size of the "work chunks" gradually as your child's confidence increases.

  8. Set a consequence for incompletion. If you find out the homework isn't getting done, and done with [he quality you expect, announce a consequence. For instance, if work isn't finished by a predetermined time (ideally, the same time each night), your child knows he will lose a desired privilege either that evening or the following day.


From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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