Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Help a Mom: Homework issues

Posted September 20, 2010
Updated September 21, 2010

As Go Ask Mom readers know, I pose questions from readers here from time to time in a series I call Help a Mom.

I got an email the other day from a mom who needs help helping her sixth grader study properly. Here's what she wrote:

"I am looking for resources in Eastern Wake County in school assistance. My child needs assistance studying for 6th grade topics - Social Studies, Science, & Math. He also needs to learn HOW to study properly so he can retain all his knowledge and pass the test! It wouldn't hurt for him to understand organizational skills as well. I am helping him studying for all his tests but I don't think that I am the best study partner. Maybe someone who is interested in being a mentor or a tutor to younger kids in this area. Where can we find resources like this? Thanks!"

I sent her question on to the folks at N.C. Parent Consultants. The group made up of former parent counselors at Project Enlightenment actually will have a session on homework battles during their Parents on the Go Saturday Morning Coffee Forum from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16. Check the website for details.

But Toqui Kennedy, a child psychologist at N.C. Parent Consultants, also shared these tips with the reader. So I'll share them with you.

Here's what Toqui wrote:

Utilize the staff at the school. Teachers/counselors can be very helpful with helping students develop study strategies for learning and retention. The test grade is important, but having her child reach his/her potential is the ultimate goal. Also, if this child has any underlying learning issues that need to be detected and addressed the school can facilitate testing. A parent school partnership around this issue would be best.

Wake Tutors provides already screened tutors throughout the Wake county area for a fee.

Even when grades are low or a student has academic struggles balance in the student's life is very important. Activities outside of school and academics that provide exercise, social stimulation and positive family bonding are necessary for healthy development.

The Psychoeducational Clinic at NCSU is very helpful at teasing out learning issues. Peace College also has students majoring in Education that are willing to provide mentoring and tutoring.

And now it's your turn readers. What are your tips for this mom?


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  • scottandjackie Sep 21, 2010

    (Look like I ran out of space.....) When your child comes home from school have them put their things where they belong: put jacket away, unpack lunchbox, place student planner with homework written down on table along with any needed books, etc. Give him a quick snack and some down time then send him off to do his homework. A binder can also be helpful when it comes to organizing papers and notes needed to study for a test. His teacher could probably give you the name of a good tutor who would be helpful. And don't forget about the school guidance counselor who often teaches study skills and test taking skills to students who need it. Good luck!

  • scottandjackie Sep 21, 2010

    I have taught "K" for years and absolutely love it! I also am one of those teachers who expect and demand that my students learn how to be organized and responsible for their things. From day one my students are required to unpack their bookbags, file their homework in their mailboxes, put any notes from home in the basket on my desk, place their lunch money in a box on my assistance's desk, return to their seat with their folders and place the homework sheet, etc. for that night in their folders and then place the folders in their seat pouch. They are expected to have all homework when it is due and all folders and reading logs signed. If not, they have to move their apple (and they hate that). At the beginning of the year parents would tell me that they are only "5" and that this is to much responsibility for them to handle, but after a few weeks they all have the routine down pat and their parents are thanking me by the end of the year! You could do the same for your child. W

  • MamasHeart Sep 21, 2010

    I would love to have some help with my 4th grader. This too is a turning point of learning more "independence" and implementing those study habits he needs for the higher grades. He is used to the teachers up until this point checking to make sure homework assignments are written down, etc. He absolutely dislikes reading anything and struggles with this already. And I can't seem to get him to understand that no one can read his writing. That counts as part of the grade now... We spent lots of money just this past winter/spring putting him in an after school program w/Sylvan. It helped him get through the last half of the 3rd grade but I just can'e afford that. Like "elliesmom" I am not the best study parter for him but there is no one else really. He is just as bad with his Dad. Getting him to even start on his homework is like pulling eye teeth! It usually turns into a battle.... How do I teach him that he needs to be studying on his own and the best way to do that is???? HELP!

  • elliesmom Sep 21, 2010

    Sixth grade is a real turning point for children in regards to what and how much is expected of them as independent learners! There is a wonderful book, "The Organized Student" that is easy to read and I have found it to be unbelievably helpful in teaching my daughter HOW to organize her space, her materials and her time. It sounds like they would know how to do that, but they really need someone to help them learn these important life skills. Unfortunately, teachers in elementary school often model these organizational skills, but are too rushed to explain what they are doing and why. I highly recommend this book to all parents of children struggling with organizing their time and work habits!

  • howdiditgettothis Sep 21, 2010

    What were the signs in the last 6 years of school (k thru 5) that the child was not studying properly? Have there been issues on particular subjects in the past, and if so how were those dealt with?

    While your child is in school, head to the library to read up on study habits, suggestions, etc. to find out what you (as the parent) can do to facilitate your child's study habits. Ask other mothers you know what they do.

    Also - you are probably more aware of your child's personality/temperament.....what has worked in the past or what is different about this year?

    What/where is the child's study area? Is it a quiet place, with good light, ample "spread out" space for books/etc? Is music or tv playing or phone/texting all stopped during this time?

  • IteachforJesus Sep 20, 2010

    Look up the sq3r system. It is very effective in helping students through the use of repetition of chapter ideas.