Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking things down

As the demands of the school curriculum increase with age, so does the homework. For children with written output problems this is enormously stressful. It is enormously stressful for parents also. Trying to keep the child focused and in the chair is the first challenge.

I am continually working on finding strategies to make homework less onerous. One thing is to break everything down into clear stages. Thus:

Type the first question on the computer screen. Allow the child to answer that single question.

Then move to the next one.

Don't try to copy out worksheets onto the screen and have the child fill them up. The sight of words overwhelms these children. Think of it like covering information with an A4 sheet in the book.

Another thing which exasperates these children is the concept of the length of time homework will take because of writing impediments. Therefore explain they need only consider the question they are on.

Continually find ways to break down large tasks. The work or task must feel manageable of the child's interest will fail and they will absolutely downtool.

Another challenge is their tendency to do the reverse and zoom through everything, half doing it, just to be finished. They produce inferior work that does not reflect their capabilities.

Negotiate with the teacher around the work. See if you can get agreement on quality over volume.

When they really begin to openly despair. Scribe for them. Or offer to scribe some questions (scribe can also be typing).

The critical thing is to ensure your child has understood the concept especially if it's maths. They do not necessarily need to do 20 questions to prove they've understood it.

With social science seek audio and audio visual materials to enhance learning such as documentaries or recorded books or photography.

I am going to try to find some mind map templates to upload here.

I heartily recommend inspiration software for brainstorming. It's very child friendly. There are also some new open source options.

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