Monday, 09 February 2015 19:31

Additional Learning Needs and Homework : Making homework easier

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Homework can be especially stressful for children with ALN but also for their parents. Here are a few tips that can help you and your child cope with homework:

  • How your child will experience learning is much more important than succeeding in any given homework task. Look at the bigger picture and make sure that homework is not a negative time for your child. Fill homework time with encouragement, praise and rewards.
  • A child’s confidence will define their success in many ways therefore always try to preserve your child’s confidence by focusing on what they did well rather than what they did badly. Children with any type of Special Educational Needs however mild or severe are at risk of having low self esteem.
  • Frequent breaks between tasks are extremely important for children with SEN. Give your child a breather between tasks and their performance will improve. (This is especially important for children with Attention and Concentration issues or Hyperactivity- in these cases a movement break would be best)
  • Give homework a clear beginning and an end. Make a plan with your child (e.g. a list of things to be done) and each time they finish something cross it off the list or tick it as done. It can be overwhelming for a child not to know how long it will take or how many things he still has left to do.
  • Set up a simplified organization system so the child can organise their books (e.g. label all the books A, B, C …. and make a list of letters of books you child needs to take to school the next day).
  • If a child with SEN is ‘acting up’ and doesn’t want to do his/her homework bear in mind that there may be an underlying reason (e.g. they may be afraid that it is too difficult and feel like they may fail)
  • If your child resists doing homework enforce a reward system to motivate them. After homework they can then do something they enjoy. An important thing for children with SEN to learn is that effort is also appreciated and rewarded not only success. Always try to use reward instead of punishment.
  • Teach your child to do their work well and not rush through the work simply to get it all done. Quality over quantity. You can always write a note to the teacher excusing him or her for not finishing the work.
  • Try to avoid giving long complicated explanations and instructions. Try to use short, clear instructions. Breaking tasks down into small steps is always helpful and also teaches your child to use this as a coping skill.
  • Make sure your child has a clear, organised and comfortable working space. Children with SEN are distracted much more easily by and can become frustrated by small things.
  • Alternative ways of doing homework usually work well for children with special educational needs. Reinforcing lessons (e.g. counting) through everyday practical life can teach them a lot more than a worksheet.
  • For children with dyslexia or related issues request some learning aids from the school to be used for English/Greek homework or reading.
  • Request a list of websites from the school so your child can cover certain topics through computer games (e.g. spelling games). This will allow your child to extend the amount of work they do without feeling overwhelmed by homework.
  • Home school communication is extremely important. The only way the school can accommodate the homework needs of your child successfully is if you tell the school about the difficulties your child is facing.  The school has a child centered approach and will offer help and flexibility to any parent facing problems.
Bear in mind that all children are different and may struggle in different areas; there are many variables to be taken into account such as maturity, previous academic experiences, confidence, strengths and weaknesses along with the general character of the child.
Overall, always try to be positive and have high expectations but without pressuring the child and if you are faced with difficulties reach out to the school for help.
Read 4032 times Last modified on Monday, 09 February 2015 19:37

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