In my twenty years as a special education teacher, I have witnessed the dramatic, positive effect an educational partnership between parents and teachers has on a child’s confidence and success in school. Koala Coach provides the ideas for stress-free learning activities at home, that reinforce the education that takes place in school. Although homework is not as fun or as easy to accomplish as the Koala Coach activities, it’s another type of learning that is a critical piece in the partnership between home and school.
You can use homework as one small window to check in on your child’s school life. You can tell how your child feels about about their teacher, the subject and most importantly themselves, just by observing how they behave during homework time. Your child is behaving like a typical student if they become distracted at times, complain about homework, eventually get most of it done, most of the time, despite a few stressful episodes here and there. However, even when my idea of ideal *homework* is assigned and my *strategies* for making homework time less stressful are applied, there are situations when homework is completely overwhelming for certain students and their families. If your child is usually upset and confused during homework time, then something is not working at school. When you are forced to become your child’s teacher on a regular basis by introducing concepts that should have been learned in school, there is problem that needs to be fixed. When this happens consistently, you need to start investigating to figure out what is really going on with your child’s learning.
When you and your child are in a nightly battle over homework, it is critical to set up a meeting with your child’s teacher. It is important to let the teacher know that your child is often not able to understand or accomplish their homework independently. You should meet with your child’s teacher to hopefully gain valuable information about what happens during the school day with your child. A meeting with the teacher should always result in a plan that is made together WITH your child. The plan should consist of changes that will be made by the teacher, by your child and by you. Your child should feel supported and see that you and the teacher will be making changes as well. There should also be a follow-up meeting scheduled to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and the next steps that need to be taken. It is possible that a few changes at home and in school will make a big difference to your child’s confidence and grasp of the subject. However, it is also possible that it becomes clear that more substantial steps need to be taken. For example, it might be necessary to evaluate the possibility of a learning difference, or investigate attention or emotional issues. Or perhaps, you will realize that your child is in a learning environment that is not suited for their personality or learning style.
If you would like advice for navigating this difficult situation please contact me for further guidance.