For most of us school has resumed. Tears over homework are beginning to surface often around written work, reading or math. If your child is in 4th grade or above teachers are now asking that your child do their homework independently. But after a few nights of struggling to get the work finish, homework time can become a dreaded event. I often hear parents wondering why schools give so much homework. Homework allows a child to practice what they have learned during the day independently. Kids who do homework will learn and progress at a much faster rate, if the work is meaningful. In schools where class room sizes are 25 or more, progressing at a steady rate is key. So the answer is not to have homework, but maybe it is important to look at the quality and quanity of work.
Why is homework such a struggle? Well first it’s something you have to do in a particular time frame and if children with learning disabilities have struggled and extend extra energy to keep up all day this is another hurdle. During the day they are being constantly faced with difficult and confusing tasks. In addition, what might take a typically developing child an hour may take 2 or more for a child with a learning disability. So is the answer that they should not be responsible for homework?
No, homework should a few target specfic goals. It should be an extension of what they have done during the day. They should work on a new skill that they have had success and practice that skill independently. Work should also include practicing skills to deal with frustration. If they are too frustrated and no tools are working then homework should end for that day. Students should learn to advocate for themselves with their teacher but if that does not work then parents need to step in. Homework is a important opportunity to learn how to manage your time and tolerate and deal with frustration, which ultimately will help your child with resiliency, but teachers and parents have to collaborate to help students with learning disability learn to cope.
So is homework the problem? No, it is a learning opportunity.