Homework Help For Children With Learning Disabilities
Homework is designed for a child to have time at home to 'practice' the skills that they have learned in their lessons at school. A child with a learning disability may need another whole lesson! Your child may pull out their homework and seem as if they missed the class altogether. It is important to recognize that they most likely feel anxious and overwhelmed at the idea of trying to complete this work that is difficult for them, and have probably felt frustrated enough during the day.
Having a supportive parent/caregiver willing to spend a 1/2 hour reviewing, or re-teaching the lesson with them is so helpful. Chances are, once they have relaxed and you have completed a few problems with them, or got them started on a paper, they will finish it on their own. Be prepared, and be patient.
Here are some simple strategies to easing up the stress of homework:
Designate a Homework Zone - A quiet area free from distractions. Kids should not be trying to do their homework while you are watching the news. Background music is fine and sometimes relaxing.
Go over what they have for homework - Begin the session with an overview of their total workload for the night. Help them prioritise their work starting with what they need the most help with, ending with anything they can do on their own. If they do not have an assignment journal, make a checklist with them. This is so helpful! And it feels so good to them to start checking things off as they get things done.
Review the lesson from the day - Have a discussion with your child about the lesson from the day. Have the textbook out as a reference, this will help spark their memory of the classroom discussions.
Do at least 3-5 problems with them - A child with a learning disability may need two times the amount of examples that other children need to grasp a concept. This is one reason homework is hard for them. They have done enough examples with their class to have the majority of the class grasp the concept. Chances are, they were not quite there when they left the class. They need more time!
You may have to re-teach the assignment - It is not uncommon to have to re-teach the concept to your child. It is important to have the classroom text book/reference book so that you are teaching the materials consistent with what they are hearing at school.
You may have to shorten their assignment - If you know your child struggles in a particular subject, check in with the classroom teacher about reduced assignments. Ask the teacher if you have permission to shorten an assignment that is taking an unreasonable amount of time, with your guidance to complete.
Generally, after 1 hour your child has probably had enough. (For children grades K-3, 30 minutes.) For example, if it is a 3 page paper due, maybe they would accept a very high quality 2 page paper; or in math, if they have 25 problems to complete, do 10with them and have them try 10 on their own. Write a note to the teacher for the next day explaining.
Provide scrap paper - Especially for math. Copying the problems over to the scrap paper for them is helpful and timesaving.
If you see them getting too frustrated tell them the answer! -And then discuss how you got it.
When working on spelling and vocabulary - draw pictures -Creating a picture in your child's head will help them make a connection to the word and they will remember it better. Also, use the word in several different sentences that they can relate to.
Be a scribe - If your child has a writing assignment, do the physical writing for them. Just write, word for word, what they say and then write 'scribed by mom' at the bottom. What is most important is that the child get their thoughts out of their head, not that they write it.
If they become too frustrated take a break! Or suggest they be done altogether.
Helping a child with a learning disability complete their homework is time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Remember that they really need this extra help - it is going to make a difference in their education, and above all that they are lucky to have such a caring and patient parent or caregiver in their life!
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