As a parent what is your favorite time of day? Have you ever considered the answer? There are many probable answers that would not include “homework time”. As parents, don’t we hate the word almost as much as when we were kids? Even though we now know why it must be done, the word can still strike panic and fear. Why? Mainly, because we don’t want to see our kids stress and develop anxiety inducing habits when we may not know how to help them. Numerous studies have shown that kids can succeed at homework when they have parents who know how to help. Thus, here are 9 ways parents can help alleviate homework anxiety and calm the situation on the homefront:
- Know the Reason for the Anxiety
Why is your child anxious about this assignment, class, or maybe even this instructor? Does he/she struggle with the content of the material?
If so why? Is the content too difficult? Does the instructor explain and teach in a way that your child can’t understand, but he can apply the new knowledge? Does your child daydream or drift during the assignment? Studies have shown that sometimes the prolonged delay of doing the work just contributes to even more anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.
- Learn the basics of “Teacher Speak”
When Educators plan assignments, they are based on a certain standard. Usually those “standards” are derived from a state or national level. Sometimes districts have their own standards. To teach and deliver those standards, educators use curriculums. However; the planning of lessons is often based on a level or a “Taxonomy” to determine how challenging it will be. If your child is given an assignment from an upper level of a taxonomy, and it is too difficult, speak with your child’s teacher to see if a modification can be made allowing a substitute assignment from a lower level of the taxonomy.
- Have Realistic Expectations. Know your Child
Make sure all expectations are reasonable. Simply, know your child and expect that your child’s teacher knows him/her as well. Expect that your child will be encouraged to strive for the best he can do. Don’t let him do anything less. However; if he is doing the best he can, and you know that, accept that work, and make sure his teacher does the same. Also, by knowing your child, you will discern when enough is enough. Realize it is okay to take short breaks, by walking around, stretching, using short meditative breaks and fidget toys to help. The use of timers set at certain intervals can also allow your child to pace themselves.
- Communication is Key with kids and teachers
As stated above, communication is always critical. Speak with your child’s teachers (all of them, if he has more than one) often, and do “check ins” throughout the year. Make sure that your child’s teacher(s) are aware of any difficulties your child may be facing.
- Create a Homework Hangout
Design and construct a comfortable area for your child to do homework. We all work more efficiently in spaces that are enjoyable and cheerful. Let your child help you design a space that not only meets his needs, but one that shows some of his personality. A fun idea would be to let him draw his ideal “office”. Use this as a blueprint to help you build the space.
- Join your kids
Use “Homework Time” as a time for self-learning as well as helping. If there is something relating to your child’s education you don’t know or don’t understand, use this time to find out for yourself. Role modeling is an important key to your child’s success. If your child sees you do it, he will be more inclined to do it as well.
- Encourage and Support
Your child will always remember how you made her feel, regardless of how well she does on an assignment. Don’t accept less than her best, but, again, know when your child has reached her max. Award praise when you know she has conquered a problem, but don’t forget to offer encouragement and support when needed. Doing so will build confidence for future attempts.
- Know the Law and Your Kids’ Rights
So many parents either take this for granted, or don’t understand how education and special needs laws affect their child. If you have a child, especially one in school, it is time to brush up on your legal-eze. If your child is struggling, you should especially research interventions, modifications, Pyramid Teams, Response to Intervention (RTI), The Student Support Team (SST) Process, 504 plans, and Individual Education Plans (or IEP). Although most major disabilities are covered under the 504 or IEP plans, many parents don’t realize that many children can benefit from the modifications and accommodations these plans can legally provide.
- Consider a Tutor
Have you tried all of these tips and feel your child is still struggling? It’s important to know when your child (and you) may need further help. Don’t be afraid to call in a tutor. Teachers are professionals and excellent tutors as they tend to know the system and what is expected of students now and in the future. They are well trained in their subject matter and are well equipped with strategies and tips to help children be successful. Dynamis Learning Academy employs the best qualified tutors (teachers) in the industry who have various specialties such as reading endorsements, special education, advanced math knowledge, SAT prep and more. The owner of Dynamis Learning Academy is a 24 year educational veteran with experience in various aspects of the education system. You may contact her to schedule a free consultation about your child’s needs. The goal is to listen to what a parent says about their child and match him/her with a tutor that will help solve the problem or enhance the child in a certain content area.