Homework: Is it REALLY worth it?

When it comes to homework for ANY child, I pose the question, is it REALLY worth it?

Here’s what over 300 of you had to say…

Does your child with autism get assigned homework?

After all, homework is supposed to be reinforcement of what the child is learning in school. For many kiddos, repetition is key so I guess that’s the thought behind giving homework. That said, in this day and age, who the heck has time for homework?

This has always been something that I have been sensitive to when it comes to assigning homework to my clients. It’s important for a skill to be worked on at home when it comes to speech and language but not at the expense of a child’s happiness or a parents sanity!

When I give kiddos speech or language homework, it ties in to what they are ALREADY doing successfully in therapy or what they need a tad bit more work on so that it is not something that will frustrate them. I also give ideas for how it can be completed during dinner or bath time or even on-the-go in the car, so that it is functional. After all as parents, we work all day taking care of our family and/or going to a job and the children work all day in school. Who wants to do more work when they get home? I know that I don’t!!!

My thought is that if it’s actually going to get done, we need to fit it into YOUR life (rather than trying to get you to change your routine to include 10-15 minutes of daily speech homework).

So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that many of you spend HOURS…yes, HOURS (sometimes 3 hours!!!) per NIGHT completing homework. This is RIDICULOUS! Seriously, my jaw hit the floor with all of your comments!

If your child is completing homework and doing well and the time spent on it isn’t an issue then keep doing what you’re doing if you all are happy! If you are miserable, frustrated and want to shred those pages of homework that are supposed to be completed everyday, here are my tips for you:

  1. Speak to your child’s teacher. Let them know how long the homework takes and that it’s a real struggle. See what they suggest. If they don’t offer a solution, then…
  2. Suggest that your child’s individualized education plan (IEP) be updated with a homework goal or accommodation that states your child only has to complete X amount (e.g., 50%) of homework per night/week/quarter…however you want to word it so it makes sense for your child. One parent shared her sons goal was to be completing 50% of homework assignments by the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Do what makes sense for you and your child!
  3. And please specify what types of homework your child will be responsible for. One of you shared that your child is expected to write sentences and spelling words but they DON’T WRITE! Hello?!? I think we need to give your child a scribe if writing is not something they physically are succeeding at right now. If the goal is hand writing with a pencil, great, write away for homework. If the goal of the homework is to teach spelling, why make your child and yourself miserable trying to get your child to write it when that is such a challenge for them? Let’s be reasonable here! Try using an iPad, another device, or a scribe at school (e.g., where your child dictates what they want to say or spell and someone else writes it down for them). Keep your focus on what the goal actually is with the homework.
  4. Call a meeting to update the IEP once the team has discussed the proposed changes and agrees to move forward with them. This can be a periodic review (NOTE: you do NOT have to wait until the next IEP meeting).

Make sure that both you and your child are not adding extra stress by attempting to complete the homework. Homework may be challenging but it should not be a stressful experience every day that leads to a melt down. If it is, see steps 1-4 above!

Here’s to a big hug for all of you that are spending endless hours on your child’s homework. We need to advocate for our children and decrease that to a reasonable and fair amount of time! Don’t you agree?

Let me know how your homework experience is every day!

With Love,

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