executive function

School Visit: Homework and Executive Function

My nine year old son visited a school today for admission to a private school that specializes in language-based learning disabilities. Needless to day he was extremely excited about the fact he had a reading class that everyone went to instead of being pulled out of class by himself. He also pointed out that he didn't have to use Lexia Core 5 (dyslexic reading software) since the whole school was Lexia Core 5! 

I was excited that he came home with homework. Since my son gets pulled out of class a lot for academic support his homework is typically reading for 20 minutes and typing. When he visited this school he had an assignment that required him to do research and identify 5 facts which he then had to draw a picture with a caption and then choose 3 facts to tell me and write down. This was awesome since it builds working memory in children. 

Homework is an important aspect of cultivating your child's Executive Function, which is the set cognitive processes that deal with managing yourself and resources to manage a goal. You may ask WHY? Homework actively activates your child's executive function since they have to plan, initiate, manage their frustration, utilize their working memory, and be flexible to achieve the assignment. Just to be clear children who are in school need homework , the length of the assignment may vary based on age. However, completing homework also gives you as the parent the challenge of letting them access their executive function skills.

For example, your child may be 5 and they have a homework assignment to complete. Our instinct is to walk them through the assignment by doing the planning for them. Instead try these steps instead:

  • Read the instructions for your child and talk to them and see if they know how to do it. If they do, STEP BACK! Do not hover over them and monitor their process.

  • If they need help getting started include them in the planning process (steps) to get the assignment done.

  • Remember there is a difference between doing it for them and helping them complete the homework.

If your child's school does not give homework then purchase a workbook or use an educational  app that will engage your child in using executive functioning skills. Realize that boosting Executive Functioning in your child will literally set them up for academic success and save you a lot of headaches in the future. If you need any other tips please comment?!