'Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for
Raising Successful Children'
Helping the scattered student at home
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Q: My son has a hard
time finishing his homework assignments on time. He's smart and
motivated to learn. But his inability to "get his act together"
keeps him from getting good grades. How can I help him?
Do you recognize this picture? It's 10 p.m. and he doesn't know
where his math book is. Or he just discovered that his book, which
he needs in order to finish his homework, is still at school. Take
comfort in the fact that he's not alone. And there is help!
The best thing you can do is help
him get organized for homework and schoolwork. Give him these
suggestions to get started:
Those yellow self-stick notes are a
great way to make sure he goes home with the books he needs. Have
him keep a pad handy. After each class, ask him to attach a
self-stick note to a book if he needs it to complete an
assignment. At the end of the day, it takes only a quick glance to
see which books have to go home and which can stay at school.
Make a place for school stuff at
home. Teachers can't grade
homework that's not turned in. So create a place at home where he
keeps all his school stuff -- a plastic crate or a decorated
cardboard box large enough to hold his backpack. Put it in a place
where he's sure to see it as soon as he gets home from school --
inside the front door or in his room are good choices.
Write down assignments.
Has he ever started studying and
not remembered whether he was supposed to do all the math problems
or only the odd-numbered ones? He called his friend, talked for an
hour but still didn't know what the math assignment was. The first
secret to getting organized is to write down the assignments as
the teachers give them. It helps to have all assignments written
down in one place -- a school planner or an assignment book.
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Especially if he's having trouble
getting organized, he probably needs to find one place to study
regularly. When he sits at this place, he'll know it's time to get
serious about schoolwork. Some kids have to sit at a desk. Others
can't concentrate unless they're lying on the floor. Have him find
his own best spot. But it should be:
- Well-lit -- look for a good lamp.
- Quiet -- turn off the TV and don't
answer the phone.
- Neat -- so he can find what he
- Well-supplied -- paper, pens,
pencils and a few references.
It will take some work, but you can
help him feel in control and ready to tackle his assignments. In
addition, you will be helping him develop positive work habits that
he will use for the rest of his life.
* * *
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question to The Learning
Advisor, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
© Copyright 2004, The Parent