Dealing With Homework

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What You Can Do

What you can do about it: First things first: Talk with your child's teacher. She may not even be aware of how long your child is spending on homework. And if a child has more than one teacher, each instructor may not be aware of how much homework the others are giving.

If the problem is dueling assignments, it can easily be solved by better coordination among teachers. If it's a problem that's unique to your child, says Deborah Diffily, Ph.D., an assistant professor of early childhood education at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, the teacher can often make accommodations in the assignment so that the work doesn't take so long to do but the lesson is reinforced nonetheless. After you've described the problem in nonaccusatory terms, stop talking and listen to what the teacher suggests. If she doesn't volunteer any specific remedies, propose a few of your own. You might suggest, says Diffily, that your child be permitted to do only the odd-numbered math problems in a long assignment, or be allowed to move on to the next subject's work after spending 15 minutes on a particular assignment. If the teacher is opposed to all such accommodations, and if the child is genuinely doing her best to keep up with expectations though to no avail, don't hesitate to appeal to a guidance counselor or the school principal, says Igo.


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