2005-10-06 / Direct Answers

Answers From the Teacher

What are some ways to help my son become more independent? His teacher and I have both noticed that he de-pends on us to check every question on a worksheet before he’ll move on to the next one. Sometimes he just sits there and does nothing.

He’s developed a bad habit and the sooner you break him of it, the better off you’ll all be. When I see students of mine do the same thing, I joke with them that they don’t have a break un-til the weekend, so I want them fully engaged in the activities at hand, whe-ther it’s either a group activity or individual practice.

Some children have difficulty setting their own pace. Sometimes simple directives, such as “Go on”, may not be enough. If your son is working on completing a worksheet, try dividing the page into three parts by drawing two horizontal lines making three sections. Ask your son to try to complete the first section without stopping or even putting his pencil down. Tell him you’ll check the work in the first section; then he can continue with the second section and third section.

I also try to impress upon my students how difficult it can be to start work again after each self-imposed “break”. They may find it easier to continue working rather than having to pull themselves back to the task over and over again.

Sometimes students are truly un-able to focus long enough to continue a task. If you feel attention issues are affecting your son’s schoolwork, speak to his teacher, guidance counselor or his pediatrician.

Another year, another fundraiser. They drive me crazy. I hate them! Is there another way for schools to fund all the extras that are required? I don’t like to buy a lot of stuff that I don’t need just to fund field trips or theater productions.

If you don’t like the fundraiser your school is participating in, then simply write a note explaining your feelings (if you are so inclined) and don’t participate. Send back the materials along with the note by the due date so that the classroom teacher can hand in collected materials on time.

If you’d like to support your school and the Parent Teacher Organization running the fundraiser, speak to some-one involved in the fundraiser purchasing items which the fund drive is seeking. Consider purchasing items that can be given as gifts from the school to kids for the holiday season, or choose special items in which your children show interest for your school. Decide on your budget, spend the money you’ll have to spend anyway, and feel good about helping your child’s school.

Also, feel free to join the PTO and offer suggestions about how to raise money without the usual fundraiser. Chances are your input will be appreciated. Find out when the next meeting takes place and attend. Find out what other schools are doing to raise money and offer suggestions that may work for your school.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be e-mailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net

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