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Hints for Handling Homework

As we get into the swing of the school year, you’ve likely noticed the re-entry of homework into your family’s schedule. Here at Faith Academy, our teachers recognize the importance of family time and try to limit how much homework cuts into it, but homework is a necessary part of being a student. Just as an athlete must perform drills or a musician must practice an instrument, academic skills must be practiced in order to be fully absorbed.

For younger elementary students, most work will be completed in class, although there will be the occasional homework assignment. Older elementary students will likely have projects, papers, or shorter assignments for completion outside class. For grades 7-12, all core classes will require homework.

That being said, it is never our goal to overwhelm or frustrate a student, or to make participation in family, church, or extracurricular activities impossible. If your child is buried under stacks of homework, some troubleshooting may be needed. Here are a few questions you can ask to help solve homework struggles.

  1. Is your child focused? While a student may be sitting quietly with books open and papers spread out, if the TV is on or social media is accessible, they may not be devoting as much attention to their homework as they should. Even if there are no visible distractions, your child’s mind may simply be wandering. To solve this, eliminate known distractions, and gently check in every few minutes to make sure your student is staying on task.A student who struggles to focus may also do better doing homework in short, 10-15 minute segments spread throughout the afternoon and evening rather than trying to accomplish it all in one go. Experiment, and see what works best for your child.

  2. Does your child understand the assignment? The material may be covered in the textbook, but the teacher hasn’t gone over it in class. Or, perhaps he or she has, but the student could benefit from additional explanation. Numerous online resources exist to help parents and students understand core subject matter; your child may simply need it presented in a different way.Your student may also need to ask his or her teacher for help. Our teachers are always willing to provide assistance. Older students may feel more comfortable emailing or asking their teacher themselves, but younger students may need a parent to step in.

  3. Is your student using his or her time at school wisely? Some assignments are designed to be completed outside class, but frequently students will have time in class to get a jump on homework. Find out if your student is making use of this time. It’s important to note that a struggle with time management does not equate to a lack of work ethic. Organization, planning ahead, and other time management skills are controlled by the brain’s frontal lobe, which isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s. This being the case, wise time management can be learned can be learned, but most students do need some practice and occasional parental coaching.

  4. Might your student have a learning disability? Many learning challenges can go undiagnosed for years, leading to endless frustrations and a negative impact on self-image. If your child is taking an inordinate amount of time to complete seemingly simple assignments, a condition like dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, or even depression can be to blame. It’s crucial for parents to know that these conditions have nothing to do with the child’s intelligence or ability to learn. Indeed, many highly intelligent people struggle with dyslexia, ADD, or other issues that can impact academic performance. That said, it’s important to uncover these common causes of frustration and seek appropriate treatment. If you suspect your child may struggle with one of these conditions, a visit to your family doctor may be in order. Don’t wait to seek help.

If you’ve checked all these boxes and none seem to be the issue, then it may be time to contact your child’s teacher. Our curriculum is rigorous, and our goal is to challenge and prepare students, but we don’t want your child to be unduly frustrated or overwhelmed. At Faith Academy, our teachers are always ready and willing to help! Let us partner with you to make school—and even homework—a positive experience for your child.

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