There’s no crying in baseball and no crying doing homework. No crying, no temper tantrums, name calling, finger tapping, deep sighs or stink eye. I’m talking about you, Mom, Dad, Grandma or whoever is helping with homework. Doing homework with visual kids can drive the best of us crazy, but it’s hugely important you come to homework time without that emotion or frustration. And if you can’t, then you’re not the right person for homework helper. And that’s okay.
Our visual kids have plenty of their own frustration when it comes to doing homework. If you’re a visual learner, you feel their pain. If you’re not, you might think they’re being lazy, stubborn or it’s all a secret plot to drive you crazy. But it’s not. Their struggle is very real. The good news is – there are things you can do to reframe the homework experience, so it’s better for everyone.
Adjust your expectations – Not everyone is able to organize their homework or stay focused to completion. Your visual learner will do better with some positive support nearby. Once you get a system in place and fair expectations all around, you’ll be able to develop a calm, smooth routine that will work for everyone.
Be a bridge – Half the battle with homework is getting kids to want to do it, especially visual kids. They’ve been in the classroom all day stressing the left side of their brain and aren’t anxious to get back at it. Help them shift gears. Take a break, talk about their day and set them up to get the work done, in a family friendly setting.
Help Translate – Part of the resistance to homework is having to do more of what was hard for them at school. It’s too much of the same stress. But there’s a lot you can do to make their left brain assignments more right brain friendly. Do they need help writing their essay? Learning vocabulary? Or doing math? We’ve got a few ideas to get you started.
Sooner than Later- Once they get home, kids need a break before sitting back down. But don’t wait too long. The later it gets, the harder it is to get back to it. You want enough time for them to be focused and relaxed about what they need to do. Getting it done early, also leaves time later for the kind of play or activity our visual kids need.
Be present- Don’t try to help with homework while feeding a baby, making dinner or while the marching band is in the living room. It’s just too much, for you and for them. With busy family schedules carving out separate time can be a real challenge, but the more you’re able to do it, the better for all of you.
Maybe it’s not your thing- We all have our limits. For me it was student driving. I knew my kids would never survive having me in passenger seat. Fortunately, my husband was the perfect driving coach for all four of our teenagers. So if you’re not the best candidate for homework helper – find out who is. If there’s not another family member that’s able to, your school might offer tutoring, classroom helpers or trained volunteers.
The key to being an effective homework helper is understanding why it is a struggle and getting a routine established that will serve everyone. Since homework time is so stressful for everyone involved, I have created a list of 19 Ways to Make It a Breeze to make it easier to get on the same page with homework. For more listen to Episode 31 of Living Life as a Visual Thinker.