5 tips to help slow learners with homework

I have a cousin. She’s eight years old. She loves karate, dancing and drawing; she can go at them for more than an hour at a time. She comes home from classes, tired, hungry and ready to fall asleep. But, sorry honey, that’s not what you’re going to do. You’re going to sit down now and finish your homework.

When her mom finally manages to glue her to one piece of the floor, she’s quiet for five minutes. Then, she calls out for help. In another five minutes, she simply wants answers. And the next five minutes she spends crying because Amma, who’s cooking in the kitchen, won’t give them to her.

Yep, she’s a slow learner. And slow learners need more help than that. When your kid displays a shallower learning curve than most others:

  1. Be accessible. This just means you should be around while she’s trying to study so that you can clear doubts immediately or guide her through whatever she can’t understand. Don’t give her the answers – just help her get to them.
  2. Patience. Yes, it’s obvious, but it’s essential. You can’t afford to snap at her, even when you’ve explained the same answer ten times. Try a new approach, use different examples from concepts she’s already grasped until that click sounds in her brain.
  3. Keep the sessions short. All kids have short attention spans, but slow learners have shorter. Instead of sitting her down for an hour and a half continuously, try three half-hour sessions spaced over the evening.
  4. Assign a quiet study spot. She’s already prone to distractions, so make sure she’s sitting in her own room and no one else except you around. If she has to sit in the living area for some reason, turn off the TV for a bit and ask everyone around to engage in quiet activities till she’s done.
  5. Don’t label her. If you call her a slow learner to her face, or talk about her that way when she’s within hearing, she’s going to become even slower. She’s a normal child, she just takes a little longer than other kids comprehend concepts. Make sure she knows that.

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