Homework presents a challenge for all parents. However, if your child has learning disabilities, it can require extra thought and attention. The good news is that with a strategic approach, you and your child can achieve homework success.
Clear Communication with the Teacher
It’s important that assigned homework is clear and appropriate for the student. If the homework is too difficult or too easy, it can cause challenges at home. If the homework assignment is unclear, then it makes things frustrating for children and adults. It’s important for parents and teachers to work together to monitor homework assignments and their completion.
Children in general need structured time for homework. The same is true for children with learning disabilities. It’s important that they know what’s expected of them and that they have a designated study time. Try to make sure that a parent or a tutor is available during the study time to monitor the child and to step in and help if necessary.
One of the challenges for many children with learning disabilities is getting and staying organized. They may struggle to create systems. Checklists, homework notebooks, and other systems can help a child write down the necessary information for each assignment. They need to learn to document the details as well as when the assignment is due. If you have a designated homework area, consider creating an environment that is organized to support your learner. It might include learning tools like calculators, pencils, and file organizers color coded for each subject.
Your child isn't going to always have someone available to create systems for them or hold them accountable. They need to learn to manage these responsibilities themselves. Create an accountability chart that helps them stay on track. The chart might give stars for days with completed homework, blank marks for days that homework was not completed, and a checkmark if the homework was done but late. This type of system can also alert parents to potential issues. For example, if you notice that your child has had late homework three days in a row, you know that something’s not working.
Make It Fun
When possible, make homework something that your child doesn't dread. Provide snacks, allow them to listen to music (if it isn’t distracting), and let them take breaks. If your child has a positive attitude about homework, it can reduce their resistance and potential struggle.
The most important homework strategy for parents with children who have learning disabilities is to have an open line of communication with the child’s teachers. When parents and teachers work together to create appropriate homework, children benefit.