In my last posts, I talked about two reasons kids resist homework: unclear expectations about assignments and not knowing how to do them. In this post, I'll dig into another big reason for homework struggles- not knowing how to do it.
So let's say the student expects homework (reason 1) and knows what the assignment is (reason 2) but still won't do it. My understanding is that they don't know how- meaning they don't know how to solve the problem, write the paper, complete the chart, add a slide, read the passage, and, most importantly, STUDY!
Once we peel away the confusion about what, then it's much easier to see what about the HOW is difficult. Some students need help getting started or modeling a problem for them. For others, they need to be taught something new or retaught an old concept. Still, others may feel insecure about the task (they don't like writing or have never been good at math), which is about confidence and practice.
Regarding "studying for a test," most students do not know how to do it. Most of my clients say they will "read over their notes," which assumes they have good notes. So this type of studying means they LOOK at the notes from class and call it studying. How much is retained by reading over something without interacting with it? Little to nothing. Or they may have a study guide and have completed it but still don't understand the material. My client made flashcards yesterday to study for a history test, but she didn't know what the words on the cards meant. It took us some time to break down the key concepts and simplify the flashcards into phrases in terms she understood and could retain. We did this by summarizing the main ideas and drawing symbols for each idea. A visual character is often easier to recall than words alone.
Teachers, if you have a student who regularly misses homework but seems to keep up in class, check in to see if the reasons might apply.
Next time, my last reason why homework is a struggle...