Ann Dolin: Hi! I am Ann Dolin. Today we are talking about how to make homework a little easier for you child. Let's discuss the avoider.
The avoider is a child who is not interested in homework at all and will go to great lengths to tell his parents that he has no homework or did it in class. He is different from the Procrastinator in that he not only will he not get started but he won't do it at all. The avoider may avoid for many different reasons.
The avoider often feels totally overwhelmed by his assignments and it's much easier for him not to do anything at all than to get started. The avoider also maybe dismissing homework because of an underlying learning disability or attentional issue or even depression. So before you insist that your child be on a regimented schedule, talk to him, talk to the teachers and try to get to the bottom of why he maybe avoiding homework at all costs.
The parent of an avoider needs to be even more involved in homework than the parents of other types of students with difficulties. Because the avoider will often be untruthful about assignments that he or she has, the parent needs to work with him and keep in contact with the teachers to know what's going on. Many schools these days have online homework assignments listed on their websites, so that you can encourage your child to go on and check to see what he or she has on a daily basis.
Setting up a flowchart is imperative. As I mentioned often avoiders are totally overwhelmed and they don't even know where to start or when to begin. So setting up a schedule after school and working with them to fill-in what their extracurricular activities are on that particular day, coloring them in red and then allowing them to see what time slots they actually have to complete homework will help them get started and budget their time.
I have often found that when parents are directly involved in their child's education and have a good communication system setup with teachers, that kids are more responsive. Many teachers are receptive to e-mail and even having a buddy list for you child in each class is helpful as well. That means that have your child designate 2-3 kids in each class that are fairly responsible, keep their names and phone numbers on your family bulletin board. So that if there is a doubt about what an assignment is, your child can call that other student and find out exactly what's going on. The key here with the avoider is not to take on responsibility yourself, but to lay the foundation so that your child has the resources to find out what the assignments are, if they haven't been written down, but ultimately, it's his job to get started and do them. However, he is just going to require a little bit more oversight from you to get the job done.
The homework contract is a great idea for an avoider. A homework contract is an agreement between you and your child that directly states what he or she has to do to earn privileges. The great thing about it is that the parent must buy into it too and most often kids are willing to get their work done, if they have the benefit or a privilege afterward, which maybe going online to Facebook or whatever it maybe that interests them, watching TV, going out with their friends, use of the family car. But for most kids, they want to know what's in it for them and the contract clearly spells out what they get in return.
So hopefully those are some good tips for helping your child to stop avoiding homework. Next, we are going to discuss the Procrastinator and how to get him started, get going and get the homework done.