Homework Tips

“I need help with my homework!” is likely a phrase you will be hearing soon.  Be proactive and set up your homework routine now.  The following suggestions may help improve your method and make homework completion a smooth process.  It also supports executive functioning skills and independence.

  1. Set a time: Pick a time and stick with it.  But remember, school is taxing and requires significant attention and energy, especially for children who struggle with language, social situations, remaining focused, etc., so allow your child some down time first.
  2. Pick a place: Chose a place free from distraction and noise.  The kitchen table is frequently a study zone, but if dinner is being made simultaneously you may want to reconsider.  With pots clanging and movement during meal preparation, this area can feel like a beehive, not a study zone.  Opt for a quiet corner with a small table or desk.
  3. Get organized:  Support your child’s organization by creating a homework checklist, or use materials being sent from school, to assure all assignments are accounted for.  A small calendar or planner can be a great visual for your child to track due dates.  Also consider a simple filing system for your child’s papers.  For example, “to do”, “completed”, and “show parents”.  That way as the backpack is unloaded no assignment or permission slip goes unaccounted for.
  4. Make it rewarding:  For many children, verbal praise and validation of their effort are the best rewards you can offer.  Setting a goal with an incentive can also make the process more rewarding.  Example: When you master division, I will let you have a sleep over.  Also, consider immediate reinforcement if necessary, such as a short break involving a preferred activity like using an ipad.
  5. No homework:  A free night is a great reward for effort but can also make nights without homework more challenging.  Use your set “study time” for homework or free reading, keeping the block of time consistent from day to day.  This can include assigned reading, library books, audio books, or even magazines.  Keep reading fun!  This will also provide balance between siblings at different ages who may or may not have homework each night.
  6. Apply new knowledge: Frequently children lose interest in academics because it is challenging and they don’t see the importance.  Try to help your child connect what he or she is learning to everyday situations.  Ex. learning fractions=do a cooking activity, spelling words=point out every time you hear or see the word,  learning presidents=look at money
  7. Find a tutor: Is too much tension around homework impacting your relationship with your child?  Perhaps a neural 3rd party can assist.  Think about other available individuals who interact well with your child.  Perhaps a sibling, an older child in your neighborhood, or a retired adult would be willing to provide some support and mentoring a few days a week for little or no cost.


Nothing Says Summer Like A Postcard:

A Project for all ages and skills

There is nothing more exciting than opening your mailbox and seeing a beautiful postcard from someplace interesting!  Here are some ways to help your child make post cards to describe their summer while also targeting speech and language skills.  It is a great activity with multimodality learning opportunities including writing, verbal expression, and drawing.

Start with large index cards.  On the back instruct your child where the mailing address, return address, and stamps should be located.  Provide lines to write in narrative.  Then start getting creative…

Speech:  Have your child determine a preferred activity or event from this summer.  Choose some relevant words incorporating speech targets and have your child draw a picture and/or write out the words or sentences including the speech targets.  Then have your child read/tell about their postcard.  Example: going to the beach.  Target words with /s/: sun, sunscreen, sand, sock, snack, snail, etc.

Language Processing/Word Recall:
Have your child make multiple post cards to be used as picture prompts when he/she goes back to school and is asked “What did you do this summer?”  This will be a great tool to help your child retell experiences.  Include pictures, words, or narrative varying on your child’s ability.
Comprehension:  Help your child make a few postcards to take with on the first day of school.  Post cards could contain real pictures from summer outings or vacations with narrative on the back detailing the location, experience, and preferred activities.  Magazine pictures could also be used.  Provide your child choices to increase comprehension.  Example:  “Did you go swimming or ride a horse?”

AAC:  On your child’s device, program in specific vocabulary related to summer experiences.  Real pictures could be utilized on buttons to double as a show and tell feature (sort of like a post card) or create postcards and have your child practicing using his/her device to describe them.  Don’t forget to also include social questions to ask peers when school starts.  Ex. “How was your summer?”  “What did you do this summer?”  “Did you go to camp?”

Vocabulary:  After your child determines what activities, trips, and experiences were the most memorable this summer, explore some new vocabulary to describe them.  For each postcard, pick a new vocabulary word to use to describe the picture.   Your child will have opportunities to practice the word every time someone asks how their summer was.  Example:  “Going camping was fun because I got to be adventurous.”  “Learning how to use the rainbow loom was tedious.