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.
- Help your child look at ALL of the homework he has. Together decide about how much time is needed for EACH assignment.
- Prioritize the assignments in order from hardest to easiest
- As assignments are completed, teach your child to check them off. Seeing one’s own progress (checking off the assignment) is very motivating.
- 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.
What is Really going on When a Smart Child is Struggling in School?
When smart children or teens struggle in school or have to work harder and longer than they should in order to keep up or make the grade, it is almost always because there are one or more areas of underlying processing/learning skills that are not supporting them well enough.
Accommodations at school or through traditional tutoring may help students to get by, but just coping with a problem for a long period of time is not comfortable and is not the answer.
These underlying processing/learning skills can be dramatically improved or completely corrected through specific brain training.
With the right kind of help, children and adults with learning challenges can work to their potential, comfortably and independently.
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