Things are going well for your child identified with dyslexia. They are receiving dyslexia instruction with fidelity in an appropriate dyslexia curriculum. However, they still have the requirements of the classroom setting, and, like other students, come home with daily homework. There are times when it can be a struggle to get our kids to come home and work some more, especially when they’ve been working all day long and are mentally exhausted!
How can you, as the parent or the teacher, support your student identified with dyslexia and their homework load? Keep reading for some helpful tips for parents and tips that teachers can share with parents that can help stop the insanity of marathon homework sessions.
Homework in your space
In the home setting, make sure to limit as many distractions as possible. This can be done by letting your child know the expectations for each evening. Consistent structure and routine is key for our students identified with dyslexia.
Here are some areas to consider for your child:
- Have your child know the expectations for homework completion. If the time varies from day to day, let them know the schedule for homework completion that day, before they begin. For example, if they are to start on homework within 30 minutes of walking through the door, let them know, and set the timer!
- Additionally, use a timer that shows elapsed time, and encourage them to decompress until it is time to start.
- Make sure they have used the restroom and are hydrated. Keeping a water bottle nearby could help with hydration.
- They should work in the same spot, preferably on a table with ample room to spread materials out over the surface, and a chair that is appropriate for their height. Ideally, a desk area or kitchen table works well. Sofas and beds encourage students to lie down and sleep, which then puts off getting homework completed. If your child needs a nap when they come in from school, schedule a nap, then allow them to wake up and complete homework, well-rested.
- Be sure there are no distractions, including screens (unless needed for the assignment), phone conversations within earshot, and siblings.
- You should be nearby if your child needs your assistance.
- Make sure the child is wearing comfortable clothes.
- Work on homework for 20 minutes on, followed by a 10-minute break off for young, elementary-aged students. Older students may do well with 50 minutes of studying and 20 minutes for a break. Use the break time to stretch, walk, or run with your child. Studies show that taking mindful breaks can help make the brain more productive during studies.
- Factor short breaks into overall study time, especially if there are errands to run, or practices to attend once homework is completed.
- If your child is working on a lengthy project, chunk the project into manageable pieces. Use a calendar to map out when each section of the project should be completed.
- When the homework is completed – FILE IT AWAY! So often, our students complete the work, but lose it between home and the classroom. Get a homework folder and get your child into the habit of putting the homework into the homework folder and then putting the folder into their backpack/bookbag before they leave the homework area.
The biggest piece of the overall homework puzzle is consistency. Remain consistent with expectations, time, breaks, and location.
What to do if homework becomes a marathon session night after night?
First, be sure to implement the guidelines above. If homework sessions consistently go into the late evenings, parents should write an email/ a note to the teacher saying how long the student spent on the assignment and where they left off.
If marathon homework sessions are something that occurs on a regular basis, you may need to set up an appointment with the classroom teacher, or even request a 504/ARD meeting to discuss homework accommodations. You may discover that you can act as a scribe for lengthy assignments or the student can use a voice-to-text app for written assignments. Often, letting the teacher know of the concerns at home will be enough to alleviate a good portion of the difficulty.
The biggest piece of the overall homework puzzle is consistency. Remain consistent with expectations, time, breaks, and location. Limit distractions and be aware of the assignments your child may have. Remain in touch with the classroom teacher to help reinforce expectations.
Homework is never easy. However, clear, consistent expectations are imperative for students identified with dyslexia. Over time, students start to develop a routine that works for their learning, which in turn, contributes to healthy study habits.