Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Getting Started with Homework

My own son has trouble following through with instructions. I ask him to get his shoes on and ten  minutes later he is playing in his room with his shoes next to him, but not on his feet. This continues with other responsibilities like homework. 

I've made my own list of things for students (who act like my son) to get started in my class:
 1. Get out your agenda
2. Write down the homework
3 Get out your opening activity (DO NOW, Sponge activity) 
4. Answer the opening activity
5. Get out your homework

This list works well for my RSP, ELL, and easily distracted students. I have laminated these instructions on a flashcard. I tell students they are to be out on their desk every time they come to my class. Usually the students have these memorized after several weeks and give me back the cards. They are able to keep up with class and don't get behind in the first ten minutes of class. 

Stowell Learning Center has a similar tip that may work for your child:

Have you ever told your son or daughter to start doing their homework, only to find them 30 minutes later just wasting time, doing other things, or staring at the pile of homework but not doing it? 

This week's tip is all about getting started.

It used to baffle me why kids wouldn't sit down and just get their work done. Now, I understand...what's obvious to me is not obvious to them!

This is one of those tips that apply whether your child struggles in school or not.

If your bright child struggles in school, this won't make the actual work easier, but it will get them organized and moving forward.   

Homework Tip
Homework Problem:
"What do I do first?"

This may sound very simple.  In fact, the answer should be obvious to everyone.

Except we know that the set of skills known as the Executive Function Skills don't actually finish developing until about the age of 25.  That means what's obvious to adults isn't so obvious to students.

Even bright older children (yes, especially those in high school) put off getting homework started just because they aren't sure what to do first.  And often they don't really understand why they are procrastinating!
Homework Solution:
Getting the Homework Started -
A Quick 4-Step Plan
Use these 4 steps to get started and keep homework organized all the way through the process.
  1. Help your child look at ALL of the homework he has.  Together decide about how much time is needed for EACH assignment.
  2. Prioritize the assignments in order from hardest to easiest
  3. As assignments are completed, teach your child to check them off.  Seeing one's own progress (checking off the assignment) is very motivating.
  4. Help your child develop a habit of putting their completed assignments in an appropriate place in their folder and backpack.  Habits don't develop without practice, so lots of monitoring and praise is needed here.
While this is pretty obvious organizational "stuff," it actually involves a lot of skills that kids won't develop until later on in life.  Getting started now will give them a procedure they can use for the rest of their lives.

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