Homework can be tricky, and finding success with homework can be even trickier! Success with homework takes a partnership between families and teachers. Every year in my self-contained classroom, I work with the parents in my classroom to find a balance that works for everyone. Here are some of my tips for both parents and teachers to keep homework time successful.
- Get into a routine and have a set time to do homework with your child.
- Consider visuals to support your homework. Timers can help, too!
- Minimize distractions for you both. Turn off the TV, put away the tablets and phones to maximize focus.
- Keep a homework basket or bin for any supplies you need. My own kids have a bin with pencils, markers, eraser, ruler, scissors and a glue stick in it. Those simple materials cover pretty much anything you may need to complete a homework assignment. Before having your child sit down with you, gather any special items you need.
- Give it time. All new routines and expectations take time to learn.
- Be honest with your child’s teacher. If homework is too difficult for your child, if you are experiencing behavioral issues, if it’s taking a long time, or if you can’t seem to find success, let your child’s teacher know and ask to brainstorm ideas on how you can help your child succeed.
- Help parents and students establish a routine by sticking to a homework schedule. Consider using something like The Autism Helper’s Leveled Daily Homework. You can read about it here.
- Use something that is easy to prep so you don’t have to think about it. I print TAH’s leveled daily homework for the year using the levels I need and I’m done with prep. My assistants help stuff the folders at the end of the day.
- Send parents resources to help students with homework. Show them how to use visuals, times, and reinforcers.
- Be mindful of what you are asking students to do. Homework isn’t the time to work on new skills (see my homework mantra below)
- Set up a system to send homework home and get it back daily. I use a simple folder system.
- Be considerate of time work will require and how long students are able to focus
- Listen to parents if they have concerns and brainstorm ways to help students be successful
- If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to stop sending home academic homework!
My Homework Mantra
A few years ago, I shared my homework mantra. For me, homework is about responsibility and routine. I’m not trying to teach new skills or reinforce new skills learned in the classroom just yet. I work hard on generalizing new skills outside of the classroom, just not directly through homework. For me, I want homework to be something that can be done independently, and can increase independence and strengthen routines at home. I also feel that homework for my students shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, max (remember, I teach K-2). Anything beyond that will likely be painful for my students and the families I serve. I don’t want homework to be a power struggle, either. There is great benefit in helping strengthen routines and responsibility at home through homework, but know when to pull the plug and take a break. There are lots of ways to teach independence and routine; homework is only one way. Ultimately: Do whatever works for you and your students and your families.
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