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The homework load gets more difficult in the upper grades, so making sure that grade schoolers have a solid foundation in how to do their homework is essential. With the following tips, parents can help their children set goals and complete their homework confidently and, in time, independently.

Homework is an extension of the material that students are exposed to in the classroom. For some grades, reading additional material is required homework. Children should either read or have an adult read to them for at least 20 minutes every night.

Getting children to be responsible for their homework can be a challenge at times. Parents can lay a good foundation by modeling and rehearsing what a session of homework looks like in the home.

To ensure that children are being proactive and taking ownership of their homework, parents can provide visual schedules and timers. This aid can help children keep track of their work. Being organized with an agenda from school is a great communication tool for both parents and students.

Some children function best by completing homework as soon as they get home from school. Others require downtime before beginning. Either way, the child should have a weekly plan as to how he or she will complete the homework: Prioritize what needs to be done first, and then, plan accordingly. So that a child is not overwhelmed, divide the assignment into chunks.

Parents should monitor and support their children. As the children get older, parents can pull back their support and only check in during homework sessions.

Teachers have silent strategies for children to signal that they need help. One example parents might consider is the laminated circle. Applied to the student’s classroom desk with Velcro™, the circle has two sides. One side is green; the other side, yellow. When a student is working independently, the circle is turned to the green side. If the student needs help, he or she flips the circle to yellow. This way, the other students can continue to work as the teacher meets with the student to review directions.

Teachers are more than willing to review the directions with a child who is making an effort to learn the material. So, parents should stress self-advocacy: Tell children to always speak up if they don’t understand class work or a homework assignment.

Sun contributor Brooke Copher is an elementary school teacher in the Appoquinimink School District.

This text was edited for consistency of language and message and appears in the January–March 2018 issue of the Autism Delaware quarterly newsletter, The Sun.

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