I’m sitting in Starbucks writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee, listening to a dad and young son enjoying doing homework.  Did you get that?  ENJOYING doing homework.  The little boy needed a fair amount of guidance and Dad was very patient, but the instruction was received with smiles and understanding.

I think that’s what all parents want.  To be able to work with their child on homework in a stress-free way, moving through it without resistance or tears.

When kids have learning challenges, homework is often more of a battle than a bonding experience.

At my Parent Information night last week, several parents shared how 15 – 20 minutes of homework at their home consistently morphs into painful hours of tears, yelling, and frustration on all sides.

One parent said, “My son is very smart.  Why does it take him hours and hours to get his homework done when his classmate next door gets it done in the car on the way home and has all afternoon to play?”

Great question!  How is it that you can have 2 kids with equal intelligence, same neighborhood, same teacher, and supportive parents, yet when the teacher gives the assignment, 20 minutes later one is done, and the other has barely started.

The answer is that they bring a different set of mental tools to the task.

All kids procrastinate or whine about homework once in a while, but in my experience, students of all ages are proud and happy to do their schoolwork/homework most of the time if they understand it and they know they can do it.

Learning and using reading, writing, spelling, and math depend upon a solid set of underlying learning skills, or mental tools.  These skills allow us to:

  • Pay attention / focus
  • Listen and get complete and accurate information (auditory processing)
  • Accurately perceive and understand what we see, including visual organization on the page (visual processing)
  • Visualize and comprehend
  • Remember
  • Gather and assimilate information quickly (processing speed)
  • Mentally organize thoughts and language
  • Use eyes and hands together (visual motor)
  • Self-monitor attention and behavior (executive function)

When any of these underlying learning skills are weak, it can cause even very bright students to have to work harder and longer than they should.  Struggling students often work so hard in school to try to maintain attention and at least look like they can do the work, that they have nothing left for homework.

And so, parents see the tears, the avoidance, the dragging of feet, and the arguments.  When you don’t have the skills to do the job, you will do almost anything to get out of it, especially if that job makes you feel uncomfortable or stupid.

There are Solutions:

The underlying skills that support efficient learning can be trained.  The brain can develop new neuropathways or new connections for learning.  Once the brain is getting the information it needs – once the mental tools are in place – the reading, writing, spelling, or math can be remediated and stick!

Adam is a successful adult and a “voracious reader” with 2 Masters degrees.  But at 7 years old, he was not reading a thing.  Once the underlying skills that were keeping him from learning to read were developed, we were able to go on to not only teach him to read but to become a lover of reading.

If you have a struggling student, we would love to help you understand and permanently change those struggles.  To learn more…

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night

Click here for details and RSVP http://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/.


“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”
We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
Jill Stowell, M.S.
Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers

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