About this time of year, homework starts to become pretty substantial. Furthermore, it becomes more and more dependent upon success at previous homework assignments. For children who struggle with homework, the problems start to compound and become a major difficulty for the child and family. Below are answers to some of the most frequent and important questions I am asked regarding homework.
1. “We are having a real problem with our daughter’s homework. It’s a battle to get started and keep her at it, and, quite frankly, it usually ruins the whole family’s evening! Why is this so hard?”
Ideally, homework should be a time for a child to practice skills learned in the classroom, share with their parents what they are learning, show off their new abilities, and gain confidence in themselves. It can and should be a positive, affirming experience for all involved.
However, it is quite often the opposite (if it gets completed at all). It can be an “evening-killing,” stressful, conflict-filled, prolonged period of frustration, failure, and blame. It is often a confidence-shattering time for the child, which erodes the positive bond between parent and child, and disrupts the whole family dynamic.
Furthermore, the learning required to do the task in the first place may not have happened in the classroom. The same issue that is causing the problem at home may be short-circuiting the learning process at school, but we’ll talk more about that in a moment
2. “Homework for my son is a nightmare. We push, we shove, we plead…nothing works. We’ve tried talking to the teacher, and still nothing is getting better. What can we do?”
At this point, you’ve probably done all you can to correct the problem at the school setting. When this scenario is present, there is a good chance that the underlying problem is ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). This is a relatively minor disorder that can have far-reaching, serious effects on a child, parent, and family. In addition to the very significant problems at home, just getting the assignment written down and the correct books in the bookbag to go home may be a daunting task. If by some miracle, everything necessary to do the homework makes it home, the energy it takes to recall the instructions, understand the assignment, and complete the task may prove to be too much.
In both these scenarios, the underlying problem may be ADHD. Many parents avoid considering or testing for this cause because they, understandably, fear the side effects and lifelong regimen of medication. Fortunately, there is a highly successful alternative called neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug-free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.
Dr. Stephen Ferrari, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback