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Homework & study skills

At a Glance: 6 Ways to Help Grade-Schoolers Work Independently

By Amanda Morin

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It’s important for kids with learning and attention issues to ask for help when they need it. But it’s also important to encourage your grade-schooler to work independently. Here are ideas of what you can do.

49Found this helpful
At a Glance: 6 Ways to Help Grade-Schoolers Work Independently

Is your child constantly asking for help with homework? These strategies can help grade-schoolers with learning and attention issues finish more tasks on their own.

1. Set clear, realistic goals.
Help your child make a plan, such as “I’m going to work on the first five math problems before I take a break or ask you for help.”

2. Use sticky notes when reading.
At the end of each sentence, have your child ask himself, “Did I understand this?” If not, he can cover up the text underneath the dicult sentence with a sticky note. This can help him focus on re-reading. If he’s stumped, he can write a question on the sticky note and ask about it later.

3. Make a “cheat sheet.”
Help your child make a list of reminders based on mistakes he makes often, such as “I before E except after C.” Put the list in his homework folder so he’ll see it when he sits down to do his work.

4. Teach your child to think out loud.
Self-talk keeps kids aware of what they’re doing. Get your child into the habit of asking himself questions like “What do I need to do next?” or “Have I done a math problem like this before?”

5. Make a checklist of where things need to go when he’s done.
Include details such as “Put homework in homework folder,” “Put folder in backpack” and “Put backpack by the door.”

6. Reward your child for a job well done.
Let him earn points each time he does his homework before dinner. He can spend saved-up points on a special treat, such as having a friend sleep over. As your child gets older, encouraging his curiosity can help motivate him to learn for the sake of learning rather than for an external reward.
Graphic of At a Glance: 6 Ways to Help Grade-schoolers Work Independently
Graphic of At a Glance: 6 Ways to Help Grade-schoolers Work Independently

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About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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Reviewed by Ginny Osewalt Apr 22, 2014 Apr 22, 2014

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