Monday, September 4, 2017

ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS

Getting your children to finish assignments is a difficult task for some parents. Teaching your children study habits and organizational skills at an early age can help cut back frustration and poor schoolwork. Even though their academic achievement will benefit from this, these are life-long skills that will be helpful in many areas in your child’s life. Here are a few simple tips.

1. Talk to your child about school. Find out if there are any subjects that he finds intimidating or any that he looks forward to, and see how he feels about his teacher and his classmates.

2. Give your child a three-ring binder to hold his/ her calendar and organize his/ her assignments and notes. Encourage your child to write down her assignments in the calendar. For long-term assignments, help him/her decide how to break the project into chunks with specific goals set for specific dates.

3. Give your child a place to do schoolwork. Children do not mind unique or small spaces, so a corner with a pillow and a sheet draped over it or a space under a table may suffice if you have a small living space. 

4. Limit distractions. This may include television, phones, computers and siblings or any other stimuli that can sabotage schoolwork. Turning off all electronics and limiting socializing allows your child to focus on the task at hand and reinforces the importance of schoolwork.

5. Ensure that your child gets breaks when needed. If you are a firm believer in all homework being finished in one sitting, let your child know that it is okay to switch between subjects if he needs a break. If your child has focusing problems, set a
timer in short increments, then gradually increase the amount of time that he is working on a task. 

6. Reinforce the use of the homework folder our elementary teachers use. Most school folders are labeled one side "Keep at Home" and the other side "Return to School." Make sure your child puts assignments, permission slips, calendars and other important papers in the folder. Go through the folder as often as you can with your child and then periodically check it after she has become accustomed to the routine.

7. Set an example. If you are in school, work on your schoolwork at the same time your child works on his. If you simply have household chores to do, designate a specific chore time, even if you realistically do chores at other times, and make that time schoolwork time as well.


8. Make it fun. Put an incentive chart in your house. Try to stay away from using the chart to earn intrinsic or extrinsic rewards; many children simply enjoy the stickers on the chart. If you also are in school, track your assignments with your child. If you are not, track your chores instead.

Monday, August 28, 2017

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS HELP IN SCHOOL?

The key to knowing if your child has a problem in school is to be an involved parent. Let your child know you are there for him and that you will do anything you can to help. If you suspect a problem and the answer isn't forthcoming from your child, don't hesitate to contact his teacher. Ask questions until you get answers.
 
Be an involved parent
How do you know if your child is having trouble in school? Look for changes in her behavior and attitude. If her grades suddenly drop or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject or subjects, talk to him/her and contact his/her teacher. If you suspect a problem, don't wait for a report card to come home.

Monitor homework and graded work that comes home.
Talk to your child about the good and troubling things you see. Offer praise for good grades or improved work, but let him/her know you notice a slide in work quality or if he/she seems to be struggling with a subject. This is also a good time to talk to the teacher and find out when tests are coming up and when they will be returned. Do this either by calling or maintaining e-mail contact with your child's teacher. 

Unfinished work also may be a sign your child is struggling. Children having a tough time with the assigned work may just give up out of frustration. If you notice this, make sure you are there to help with homework or perhaps find a tutor who can help. Do not do the work for your child, just offer enough help so that he/she understands the
subject matter and the assignment.

MAP test scores can also give you an indication of whether or not your child has a problem in school. Look at your child's results. If you see a problem talk to the teacher about what needs to be done to make improvements.

Partner with the teacher
Don't hesitate to talk to your child and to his teacher. Teachers appreciate involved parents, but don't go into discussions with the teacher in attack mode. Focus on helping your child with his/her struggles and coming up with a plan. Avoid going to the principal before talking to his/her teacher. Following the correct channels of communication is a great way to foster an effective relationship.