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5 Ways to End the Homework Hassle

Posted on: October 4th, 2017 by North Star Marketing No Comments


Let’s play a game of word association.

If I say “homework,” what comes to your mind?

Is it the highlight of your evening and family bonding time or tears and hassles?  I know the answer to this question!

The amount of stress homework produces, on a daily basis, can be destructive to families and frequently leads to crying, yelling, or even full-blown meltdowns. If your evenings look like this, you’re not alone.

Consider using these five practical tips to change the environment and attitudes around homework time.

  1. Display your child’s homework assignments in a visual manner.
    Using a whiteboard, arrange it by today, this week, and future projects. Break down assignments and follow the board. This is helpful because the board becomes the checklist, not the parent.
  2. Share the load and make it enjoyable.
    Consider making learning social by meeting another parent and classmate at a restaurant or coffee shop to complete homework. This provides a new setting and a novel environment of support where children can help each other and both parents can step in as needed.
  3. Crank up the fun!
    What child doesn’t like to have fun? Don’t be afraid to take the pressure off and act silly during homework time. Use different voices, form letters with your body, or get outdoors and practice spelling out words with sidewalk chalk.
  4. Practice empathy
    Ask questions to get more insight into what your child is going through. Healthy questions include, “What assignment would you like to tackle first?” “What part can you do?” “Where exactly are you stuck?” or “Can you find an example in your book?” Try these rather than saying, “Try it on your own,” or “I’m sure the teacher showed you how to do this.” And most importantly, know when to quit before the meltdown occurs.
  5. Give breaks as needed.
    If your child is struggling or procrastinating, it’s OK to take a break and come back to the assignment. Every 15 minutes or so, pause for a brain break by doing some fun exercises or stretches. Avoid allowing your child to use electronics during homework breaks.

 

Partnering with Parents to End the Homework Battle

At Tampa Day School, we help you take the hassle out of homework. A 45-minute homework lab is actually built into our daily schedule. Beforehand, we provide a healthy snack for energy. If a student needs assistance, there is a teacher in each room to help. Students can work with a partner or work individually. The lab not only takes the full burden off parents’ shoulders and alleviates stress at home, it teaches children time management skills; when their work gets done, they have free time.

The New Meaning of RTI (Response to Intervention)

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by Jen Mitrakos No Comments

The timeline to receiving an ADHD diagnosis can be varied depending on how much a parent or guardian advocates for intervention and a diagnosis.  As young as three, I felt that my son was struggling to meet the benchmarks for a child his age.  He always seemed a bit behind, slightly not focused, and overly anxious.  He went through preschool and kindergarten struggling to stay on task and understand content.

At the ripe old age of 5 five, I was told that my son needed a tutor, in KINDERGARTEN!  Being my first child, I quickly shelled out $60 a week to help build his foundational knowledge.  Still struggling months later he was referred to the Response to Intervention team (RTI).  To me RTI should stand for Remiss to Intervene.  My son’s progress was monitored at monthly meetings.  His progress ebbing and flowing, on the cusp of needing help and then squeaking by just enough to please the powers that be.  For three years my son was on and off the RTI team.  Three academic years wasted without intervention. The only lesson learned was for me to advocate for my child.

My child needed testing and because of intermittent success it was being postponed.  Thinking because I worked at the school, as a teacher, my son would be given the attention needed.  I asked to have him evaluated.   It was February and I was told the testing wouldn’t begin until next year.  Testing schedules were booked and summer was approaching so testing during that school year was not likely to happen.

I could not let another year slip by without adequate gains being made.  So I cowboy’d up and had private testing done.  I had an ADHD diagnosis within a month and began to develop a 504 plan with the school.

For those of you who have a 504 for your child, I bet you have some similar goals: extended time on tests, preferential seating, and communication in daily planner.  I think they pick these goals out of a hat.  Here are some 504 tips:

  • Advocate and set goals your child really needs!
  • Review and rewrite the goals as needs change.
  • Most importantly, meet with teachers at the start of the school year to inform them about your child’s 504 plan.
  • Check in through out the school year to make sure the 504 accommodations are being used.

One last tip, Remember to Intervene (RTI) before it is too late.

If the Morning Routine Leaves You Feeling Like You Ran a Marathon, Your Child May Have ADHD.

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Jen Mitrakos No Comments

As I began to reflect on the day of a life of a child with ADHD, it became readily apparent that capturing snapshots from the period between getting up and going to school would provide more than enough information about how challenging a typical routine can become when a child experiences symptoms of ADHD-distractibility, impulsivity and high levels of activity.

One would like to think that as a professional with years of experience helping parents to proactively manage these challenges, I would be well-prepared to structure my 7-year old son who manifests each and every symptom of ADHD.  However, as fate would have it, I have come to accept that my actions have the potential to elicit a host of equal and opposite reactions UNLESS I anticipate and monitor my son to help him execute the expected steps of the morning routine.  This mental challenge can be exhausting and at times, like many other parents, I lose patience and add even more stress to what may already be a chaotic morning.  Despite momentary frustration, I know from experience that with consistent practice, this routine will become more automatic and we will move on to bigger and better challenges.  Equipped with this knowledge, I forge forward with a process in place to help my distractible little guy practice the routine with increasing independence over time.

First and foremost, we prepare as much as possible the night before.  This helps to create a mental checklist of items needed in the routine and allows for advanced organization when not in the thick of the morning pressure.  For us, this involves having the backpack, socks and shoes by the door, leaving the school uniform in the bathroom, and at times, preparing parts of the daily snack.  This leaves the often extended getting out of bed process, bathroom time, breakfast, dressing, teeth and hair brushing, and the struggle with socks and shoes for the morning.  Although I can’t believe I am admitting this, we have discovered that it is quite comfortable and saves a step to sleep in the PE uniform the night before PE.

What one can never account for are the hundreds of distractors that lurk around the house to keep us from successfully managing this seemingly simple routine in a timely manner.  Take for example the day that my child jumped out of bed, ate breakfast and then headed to the bathroom for the remainder of his morning tasks.  I was overjoyed that he was independently following the routine and was silently praising myself for the success of the parental structure I had imposed.  Little did I know that he was staging a full-fledged military attack in the bathroom instead of following the last three steps in the perfect plan.  Although by many standards, the scenario that awaited me would be hilarious, I was not amused.  My son emerged from the bathroom completely unclothed with a banner of toilet paper meticulously wrapped like a sash across his chest claiming he was ready to defend our home from “bad guys”.  Although I was able to reflect and chuckle later, my stress at that point was evident to my child who was clearly disappointed about my lack of enthusiasm for his obvious creativity.  Instead of enjoying the moment, I was calculating the time we lost with these off-task antics.

Once redirected to get dressed and after standing over him to make sure he actually brushed his teeth, the next big barrier occurred when he put on his socks only to experience the apparently heightened discomfort the seam of the sock inflicted on his sensitive little toes.  Again, not being at my best, this was the moment I chose to develop his resiliency by telling him he wouldn’t notice it once he put on shoes.  This extended a 2-minute task into a 10-minute torturous ordeal.  After the fact, I admitted to myself that I should not have chosen that time and place, given that we were running behind, to require him to tie his own shoes.  Live and learn!!!

For many of you, these scenarios will appear silly while others of you know far too well how challenging this process can be each and every day.  For the latter group, I offer encouragement to keep plugging along with as much patience as proactivity as you can possibly muster.  Specifically, prepare what you can in the evening and plan two to three times as much time as it would take you to get through the morning routine by yourself.  In addition, make the steps of the routine clear and when initially developing these skills, provide a high level of monitoring, pour on the praise as steps are accomplished and realize you may have to assist with some steps (pick your battles) if the process does not go as planned.  And in closing, have faith that your child will continue to develop these skills with practice though it will likely take longer than his same aged peers.  And, to help you chuckle when things are not going as planned, consider repeating the Star Wars mantra, “May the Force Be With You”.

 

 

 

Welcome to the Tampa Day School Blog!

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by plentz No Comments

The concept behind the Tampa Day School blog is simple-we strive to express the daily joys and challenges of parenting, teaching and being a student with ADHD, Anxiety, Dyslexia or mild learning disabilities and to provide tips and resources for people in the critical role of supporting these children who often face daily hurdles.
The topics will vary to include perspectives from an educational leader, a school psychologist, a curriculum and instructional specialist and a host of other parents, professionals and students.
Ultimately, we hope that our blog will inform, inspire and support others to build pathways to success for children who may otherwise struggle more than necessary to meet their true potential in school and in the larger context of life.

photo credit:mckaysavage via photopin cc

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