Homework can be a challenge for kids with special needs and their parents. But never fear, guest blogger Rachel Cordeiro is here with her Homework Survival Guide’s six tips to make study time easier for child and parent.
Homework Survival Guide: Special Needs Edition
Survival Tip #1: Preparation
During this past school year homework was a struggle for my daughter. I’m not sure who began to dread it more–Cami or me! Without fail, it was days with the most difficult start to homework that the Braille writer would become jammed while loading the paper into it. This caused an already stressful situation to escalate, and I knew something needed to change. My solution? I decided to load the paper into the Braille writer ahead of time which cut out a lot of unnecessary stress. It was a small step that made a big difference.
I do realize some steps involved in the homework routine may help to reinforce a necessary skill, but sometimes you have to pick your battles (and I was tired of the jammed paper winning!). You will have to decide what is best for your child. Take a step back to consider which steps in your child’s homework cause unneeded stress, then prepare as necessary for the smoothest transition into homework time.
Survival Tip #2: Communication
As I already mentioned, Cami had a difficult year and we both cried many tears over the homework load. My advice? Communicate often with the teachers. Be honest about any problems you are encountering during homework, and make sure they are aware of how long it took your child to complete the assigned work. Remember, as your child’s advocate it’s important to let the teacher know how much your child can or can’t handle.
Survival Tip #3: Adaptation
Last year in science, Cami’s class had to learn the physical states of water. There was a study sheet containing pages of facts with pictures, but the information was overwhelming for her and she couldn’t see the illustrations. After reading it through to her several times, she was having trouble remembering it all, so I put the paper aside and tried a different approach (boiled water on the stove to illustrate water vapor, placed ice cubes in a glass of water to illustrate condensation, etc. ) to illustrate the different changes in matter.
Because Cami retains knowledge best when it’s something she has experienced, she was able to remember the different states of water much better. I made sure to send a note explaining what we had done in place of the written assignment, and her teachers accepted that (this falls right in line with communication as well).
Survival Tip #4: Concentration
Create a homework environment most appropriate for your child. Where exactly that will be differs from child to child, as long as it enables him to focus on his work. The key is to set aside a time and place dedicated to homework and be consistent in implementing that as part of the homework routine.
Survival Tip #5: Motivation
There are days when I wish I had the magic formula for motivating Cami to do homework; other times I think I’ve discovered the greatest motivator for her, only to have it last for one week. Motivate by keeping things fresh. Make it as fun and enjoyable as possible and be flexible in your approach. The key I have found to motivating? Focus on motivation for that particular day and use a different approach tomorrow if needed.
Survival Tip #6: Relaxation
After your child has completed their homework assignment it’s a good idea to reward them for their hard work and effort. Choose a reward that you deem appropriate for them and something they can look forward to each day (this works as great motivator as well!). For Cami, her reward is to play with whatever she chooses, allowing her to enjoy much needed down time and relaxation. And don’t forget yourself…now that the homework for the day has been completed it’s time for you to relax as well….at least until tomorrow!
What Tips Would You Add to Rachel’s Survival Guide?
Did reading Rachel’s survival guide bring your favorite homework survival tips to mind? If so, share them below. Or leave a comment about which of Rachel’s tips makes life easier for you. And check out Rachel’s blog at www.thisjourneyourlife.com.
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