Big Bear has always received homework from school with varying degrees of success.
In reception, it was daily reading and weekly maths homework. Maths was a difficult one because not only did Big Bear not understand a lot of it (spherical and cylinder shapes was one of the many disasters), because it was only once a week, the tasks were too far apart to get into a rhythm.
Year one is a bit easier. We have ongoing maths homework, daily reading and weekly spellings. It’s not easy fitting it all in but we seem to have worked out a system that works for us most of the time.
If you’re struggling with homework, check out these tips for homework success for children with additional needs:
1. Work out the best time of day
Catching your child at the right time is vital, and fitting it into a convenient time for you can also be a challenge.
For us, Big Bear is wide awake first thing in the morning so this is when we practice maths and spellings. As he is an early riser, we do this 6-6.30am downstairs before the rest of the house awakes to minimise distractions.
To spread things out, and to fit in with his bedtime routine, he practises reading his school book in bed before going to sleep.
2. Build it into the daily routine
Weekly or random bits of homework result in meltdowns in our house. Making homework part of the daily routine is an important part of the process as Big Bear knows what to expect and when to expect it. That includes sitting in the same place and using the same pen, pencil or tablet to do the work.
Little and often is the key. Doing things in short bites keeps the pressure off everyone.
3. Adapt homework to how they learn best
Big Bear generally learns his weekly spellings via the Squeebles app on the iPad. Children can earn stars to use in a game after completing their spellings challenge. I can’t recommend the app highly enough (I’m not affiliated with it). Big Bear has a good working memory so spellings are one of his strong points and this is a good way to encourage him to learn. A couple of days before his weekly test we also practice writing them down.
Big Bear is currently working on his number bonds in maths and we use a mixture of apps and a number line at home to practise at home. Maths is still not his forte and we do struggle a bit but we find that practising little and often really helps.
4. Give it your full attention
It’s hard when you have a busy life and multiple children to give one child your full attention when they are doing their homework. But if you do things little and often, as already discussed, then it should make things a bit easier. If I’m distracted, Big Bear is distracted, which doesn’t benefit either of us. If at all possible, try to do homework when there are as few distractions as possible.
5. Reward charts and stickers
Reward charts and stickers for good behaviour and hard work can be useful. Big Bear loves knowing he’s done his best at something (even if it has been a challenge to get to that point). He enjoys putting a star on his chart at the end of a homework session and it also helps to mark the end of the task.
What are your top tips for homework success for children with additional needs? I’d love to hear how you do it.
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