I have spent several years helping my son with dyslexia and ADHD managing the transition from school to home–and often back to school. We have had to overcome several challenges that for most parents, are non issues. For example, getting the assignments translated from school to home and getting the homework from home to school.
Most often, this resulted in two issues:
- Me understanding and having a correct listing of all required homework.
- My son turning in his completed homework the next day…the homework we often spent hours on!
Many schools preprint agenda books or assignment notebooks. These are often spiral bound and have all kinds of information in them, like a calendar of sporting events. For my child, the assignment notebook was an invitation to doodle, rip paper, pull spirals–anything other than write his assignments down. The agenda presented too many distractions and the lines were too small for him to legibly write the assignments.
In addition, many teachers implemented folder systems or binders that also created opportunities for mass confusion, disorganization and a lack of accountability. For example, massive accordion-style folders that most often resulted in lost and missing assignments. I understand how these systems could be helpful for the average student, but for my son–who struggles with organization and focus–they were nightmares!
In response and with the cooperation of his classroom teaches, I created a simple solution to replace both the accordion-file folder and assignment notebook.
We reduced the folder system to ONE folder divided in to two sides: home and school. Papers that were to be turned in at school went on one side and things that needed to come home went on the other. That way, when we were first working on some organization and building personal responsibility, he could walk in to the classroom and hand the teacher everything on the “school” side of the folder. Similarly, each night, I would go through everything on the “home” side of the folder.
And, we pitched the assignment notebook. Instead, I made very simple assignment sheets that were easy for him to find and keep track of, easy for his teacher to check and provided me with all the information I needed to support him during homework time. I used a half-pocket folder to hold the assignment notebook and Velcro it to the front of the main folder.
These stripped-down versions of core components of the elementary school classroom made a big difference in improving our school to home and home to school transition. And, as always, I need to thank my son’s supportive classroom teachers who were always willing to support our alternative strategies
This is just one of the homework strategies I share in my Homework Helpers workshop. If you have an event where this workshop may be helpful, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.