Ending Homework Madness Week One September 12, 2014 06:50
Homework Anxiety and the fear of the unknown are a horrible way to begin a new year. By their own admission, my third graders entered my classroom two weeks ago full of fear and anxious about not having help at home with homework. The unknown is always scary.
"One's perception is one's truth until someone shows them they are wrong." Author unknown.
It didn't take me long to make them feel comfortable. I had a job to do, because they knew their homework the year before was not possible to done alone, so this fueled their fear. Their truth was validated by their previous experience.
My job is to relieve that anxiety and change their perception to "I am capable of doing my homework alone. I know my job and if I make sure I know how to do everything on my homework before I leave the class, I will be able to do my homework without a problem!"
Getting the children to this point took a few steps:
1. They were given a "Homework Notebook" that contained their agenda, a pencil bag, and pockets in the notebook labeled "To Do-Incomplete" and "Completed."
2. The front cover housed a list of the steps to the "Homework Habit."
3. The "Homework Habit" begins the moment they enter the classroom and ends the next day when they turn the work in. (A Training Tape will be available soon that demonstrates the process so students feel comfortable with it).
4. I offered opportunities to look at their homework "as if" they are going to do it right away. This will allow them to determine what is clear and what is not. Their job as a student is to communicate what they do not understand. I shared my "Nuts and Bolts" story with them. (Read it in my archived blogs).
5. Questions are answered offering strategies for solving the challenge, never answering the question or doing anything for the child that the child can do for him/herself. Parents will read aloud to their children, when the child needs to be taught how to read aloud. I will address this method, along with others, in my future blogs.
6. The students learn about the brain and how it works. This information deals with the stress response, how to activate the brains filter to know what to focus upon, why they might forget a concept by the time they get home, and why they might not know how to do an item on the homework. This knowledge makes it okay for them to ask questions.
7. Students learn why teachers might say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question," but may make you feel stupid for asking one. Demystifying teacher's reactions is very powerful.
I will be blogging about the events that occur in my classroom since they change year to year, and the situations the parents are dealing with at home, so we can all learn from each other.
If you are a teacher and would like to share challenges your children are having, email them to me and I will add them to the blog.
If you are a parent and want some help with the challenges you deal with at home, email me and I will do the same in my blog.
Here's to a new beginning of the school year!!