If you read Part I of this blog on homework hovering, you may have been able to relate to the scenarios discussed. Included herein are some tips for parents struggling with an elementary age student, with a couple of goals in mind. One goal is to provide some parameters around fostering independence, and a second is to give you guidance on how best to address the issue of early learning difficulties.
So, when your child comes home in first grade and has no idea how to do the three worksheets, can’t read aloud to you because he doesn’t have the reading skills to do so, or didn’t bring the homework home at all, how do you proceed? First, communication with your child’s teacher is essential at all ages. Starring or circling parts of the homework that your child was able to do independently, and other parts that required direct instruction, is extremely valuable. If the conversation is targeted to skills your child has not yet accomplished, the teacher can get a sense, very early on, of gaps in learning. This goes for those self-regulation skills (executive function) as well.
If you are consistently “hovering” over homework, this is an indication of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. Some children may not have the skills yet, while another child may not have the mental energy, stamina, or concentration to persist in getting the homework done. Each observation is diagnostic and again, helpful in finding a solution to the overarching problem(s).
Let’s take that same child, who is now in 4th grade, and whose mom has had assistance with the child’s early academic failure.
The bottom line – what is the difference between the first grade, hovering mother-in-training, and the fourth grade “glider” mom?
The lines of communication with teachers were opened early, and specific areas of challenge were recognized. The child learned where his areas of strength and weakness were, and internalized strategies to use for academic success. Mom questioning the child instead of supplying answers all the time helped her to become more metacognitive (learning about the way she learns and understands concepts), and to understand what she needs to be successful. As the child finds success, she is motivated to do more....where she finds more success....and knows she can do more....and does!
I do not intend to give you the impression I think it is simple; it is not. As a matter of fact, as students move past fifth grade and into the junior high environment, a more specialized and rigorous plan must be put in place. Children who struggle for years and years have layers of issues that must be addressed.
Learning challenges can be complex and sometimes take years to iron out. But we know, absolutely 100 percent through years of research, that early intervention is the key. The sooner the child takes the reins, the sooner consistent success can begin – all hovering averted...
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