Hope these answers will do some magic for you!
Q1: How can I help my child's homework?
If your child struggles with homework, you are suggested to assess the ability of your child and the underlying reasons why they cannot finish their homework.
Questions to ask:
1. Can my child recognize and pronounce all the words on the task?
2. Can my child understand the questions?
3. How much does my child understand what was learnt at school?
4. Is the homework too difficult for my child?
Different levels of tasks
After understanding the ability of the child, you can identify the easier parts for the child to complete on his own. For example, matching, copying, tracing, etc. For the harder parts, you can break it down into different levels. For example, the homework is to fill in the blanks in sentences, you can help the child to understand all the sentences first, then just let the child to choose the suitable answer to fill in the blanks.
Goal setting and breaks
Setting goals and rewards can motivate your child to work faster. We suggest you to divide the homework into smaller parts, set goals before doing homework, and allow the child a 2-minute break after each task. When the child completes all and achieves the goal, a little reward of TV time, snacks, or playtime can be given.
Children can be easily distracted when they do homework. It is better to keep the homework environment quiet and tidy. Put away all unnecessary stationery, food, and toys to avoid temptations. Make a to-do list and put in front of the child so he is clear with what he has to complete. He can cross a line after completing each. It would increase the satisfaction!
Our children might need more attention and assistant while doing homework. Instead of sitting face-to-face which distant you from the child, try to sit next to him or at 90 degrees of the seat so you can assist the child easier and make him feel your accompany.
Questions to ask:
1. Which concepts are my child going to learn?
2. Which topics are my child not familiar with?
Preparation before class
Your child needs to have brief knowledge about the topic before having classes. First, you can look at the content page of the textbook with your child to see what topics will be covered. You are also suggested to be engaging within discussions.
When preparing specific topics, you could predict what your child may be stuck with, then summarize them during preparation. In brief, you could skim the titles, subtitles, graphics, and captions.
Summary after lessons
After having lessons, you can make a chart of the concepts your child has understood, want to know more about, how he/ she can find out, and what did he/she learned in class. You should also check whether your child has understood the concepts correctly. If he/ she misunderstood, you could give your child the direction of searching for answers.
Linking the topics
Finding out how the topics and concepts are interrelated. Discovering the linkage between concepts can help your child understand the big picture and connect the ideas in an organized, functional manner. Otherwise, he/she might not understand the purpose of learning that topic. For example, counting backwards is the foundation of learning subtraction. After learning both topics, parents could guide children in using method of counting backwards to do subtraction questions.
You should assess the effectiveness of all the classes your child is having regularly. For example, after every 3 or 6 months, you can check whether there is any progress or anything learned.
Questions to ask:
1. Does my child enjoy the lessons?
2. Does my child have enough rest?
Giving breaks and rests
First, you should reserve some time for your child to take a break. It could be interest classes which they enjoy having or activities that they like.
Giving your child breaks between assignments is really important. You can time your child when they are doing homework. For example, giving them 20 minutes to finish one piece of homework, and 2 minutes break afterward. Or even give the remaining time as a break if they have completed it early. The break time cannot be too long as it would be hard for them to refocus.
Reasons for losing control
It is important to note that emotional outbursts might happen when they are too hungry or tired, or incidents that happened at school, etc. You should figure out the reason for that, otherwise, your child cannot concentrate during classes.
Q4: We have to work often but our child does not follow
the carer's instructions. What should we do?
You should authorize the carer (helper or grandparents) with some power. It is recommended for your child, the carer and you to sit down together to set up rules. The carer has to sign once your child finished the homework on time, and the the child can get a favorable reward. For example, if your child chooses to play on the iPad as a reward, you can authorize the carer to set passwords for iPads or electronic gadgets.
For long term goals, your child should be allowed to get bigger rewards, which should involve both you and your child, such as cycling, hiking or doing barbecue, etc. You should also assess regularly whether such rewards can give your child enough motivation to work according to the schedule to achieve certain long-term goals.
Q5: My child has just entered primary school, and he/she is suspected with dyslexia. Should I bring my child for a dyslexia assessment?
Major symptoms of dyslexia
1. Unable to distinguish left and right
2. Difficulties in expressing with words
3. Unable to comprehend contents
Having the above symptoms does not mean your child has dyslexia. However, when the symptoms cause daily hindrances, then you might worry about dyslexia. How do you check it?
Diagnosis report or screening test?
You should consider the purpose and needs. If you want extra support from the school, for example, adjustments on examination time or the amount of homework, then the diagnosis report is better. However, in accessing your child’s actual ability and detailed difficulties with suggestions, screening tests might be more suitable. It allows early intervention at a lower cost.
Practically, the diagnostic test is more expensive. The school will provide a free dyslexia diagnosis test for students who are primary grade 2 or above. For the screening test, it is cheaper but schools will NOT make any adjustments for the child with the report of the screening test.
Systematic school adjustments
Your child might receive corresponding adjustments from school according to the dyslexia diagnostic report suggestions. Take homework as an example; teachers might decrease the amount of workload and omitting difficult questions.
Regarding dictations, teachers might allow students with special learning needs to access the dictation syllabus beforehand, reduce the coverage of dictation and changing formats. Teachers would use the marks addition method to boost students’ confidence by focusing on the positive half.
For tests, teachers might read aloud the questions, enlarge the size of the exam paper, increase the duration of the exam, adjust the difficulty of the paper, such as allowing students to write numbers only when rearranging sentences.
Q7: How is Boaz’s screening test different from others?
Our screening report is able to analyze children’s level in detail. We will point out the specific learning difficulties in your child’s learning. We will identify the current level of your child and the number of proceeding stages upon completion. For example, for Mathematics, when the children have to accomplish the task of addition, there are several steps, which are pronouncing the numbers, distinguishing the numbers, counting, then adding.
Boaz always utilizes students’ strength in favouring their learning processes and provides dyslexia support. Our motto, “If the children do not learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn” motivates us to find the most suitable learning strategies according to their aptitudes to help students overcome learning disabilities. For example, if children find it hard to memorize the multiplication table. We will help them to memorize the table by recognising the patterns, which corresponds to their strength and preferred learning style.
Q8: How should I choose a primary school for my child with Dyslexia?
Parents should consider the following factors:
1. Learning needs
- Choose a school which suits your child’s ability and learning pace
- Enhance interest and motivation to learn, and hence, boosting your child’s confidence
2. Learning approach
- Every child has difference learning approach
- Interactive learning: for curious kids
- Conservative schools: for kids who are good at listening and concentrate in lessons
3. School choice
- Many school choice apart from interactive/ conservative approaches
- For example, international schools, semi-international schools, schools without examinations from p1-p3, schools which allocate students of similar abilities into the same class, schools which have classes before noon and activities in the afternoon
4. School assistance
- Available information on school website and forums
- Keywords: percentage of teachers who has received SEN training, after-school support classes for main subjects, learning support grant
- Adjustments for homework and examinations
5. The pathways for further studies
- Learning support of “through train” primary school is not equivalent to that of secondary school
- Make decision according to the situation of different schools