North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Parenting Pipeline


A newsletter for parents of fourth-grade children from the North Dakota State University Extension Service

Hassle-Free Homework

Since your child has entered fourth grade, you've probably noticed a difference in the amount and type of homework he brings home. This homework extends your child's learning beyond the classroom.

How Can I Help My Child With Homework?

Help your child develop a time clock. Children should be given time to unwind when they first get home from school or the child care provider. Sometimes after-school activities prevent doing any homework until after dinner. You and your child can determine when to set "homework time." You can help your child learn to include homework in her routine when you:

Homework Survival Kit

pencils - pens - colored pencils - crayons - markers - pencil sharpener - erasers - glue or glue sticks - tape - writing paper - construction paper - hole punch - stapler - scissors - paper clips - white out - assignment book - folders for reports - index cards - intermediate dictionary - atlas - thesaurus - almanac - rubber bands

Learning Styles

Some children learn best by seeing (visual learners), some by hearing (auditory learners), some through movement and doing (kinesthetic learners). Most children are talented in one or two but not all three areas. Each child in your family will have his own learning style.

Material should be presented in a variety of ways to accommodate students' different learning styles. For example, if new spelling words are presented by calling out the letters, visual learners are not able to "picture" the word. If, however, they are printed on a blackboard in addition to being said aloud, visual learners see the way the word looks so they remember it more easily. Kinesthetic learners might have to manipulate blocks with letters to "make" the word before they can remember it.

Visual Learning

Spelling and math often come easily for visual learners because they can "see" the word or problem. They are generally neat and care about how things look. They learn by watching and will call up images from the past when trying to remember. They use visual imaging to picture the way things will look. Help them make mental pictures in their heads and use visual words to describe shape, form, color or size. Visual learners enjoy movies, museums, charts, maps and graphs. Encourage them to imagine what things look like. This will increase their ability to remember.

Auditory Learning

Auditory learners learn best by listening. They often spell a word the way it sounds rather than as they saw it in print. They may have trouble with reading because they do not visualize well. Some auditory learners have conversations aloud with themselves or others. They like to talk things over, and they do well when people contribute verbally in small or large groups (debates, plays). This type of learner enjoys imagining how things will sound and remembers facts best when they are presented in a poem or song.

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They learn best through movement and manipulation. They like to find out how things work and are very successful in the practical arts. When given a choice of assignments, such as writing a book report or making a scene from a book, they will make the scene. They can learn to read and follow directions through the use of recipes, etc. Most kinesthetic learners move around a lot (rock in chair, tap feet) and have trouble sitting for long periods. They like to dance, participate in sports and use their hands. They may even like the feel of fabric rather than the look of the clothes they wear. This explains why they like to study on a carpet or textured bedspread. Although it might appear distracting, they may have to walk around while doing their homework assignment. They are also very sensitive to feelings in themselves and others.

Summary of Learning Differences
	  Kinesthetic	    Auditory		   Visual
Learning  Learns by doing,  Learns through verbal  Learns by seeing;
style     direct 	    instruction, either	   watches
	  involvement.      from others or self.   demonstrations.

Memory    Remembers best    Remembers names,	   Remembers faces,
	  what was done,    forgets faces;     	   forgets names;
	  seen or talked    remembers by 	   writes things down.
	  about. May take   auditory repetition.   Takes notes and  	 
          notes and not 			   looks at them.
	  look at them.     

Problem   Attacks problem   Talks problems out;	   Deliberate; plans
solving   physically;       tries solutions        in advance;
          impulsive; 	    verbally, subvocally;  organizes thoughts 
	  often selects     talks self through	   by writing them;
	  solutions in-     problem.    	   lists problems.
          volving greatest 

Communi-  Gestures when     Enjoys listening	   Quiet; does not
cation    speaking; does    but cannot wait to     talk at length;
          not listen well;  talk; descriptions	   becomes impatient
	  stands close 	    are long and	   when extensive
	  while speaking    repetitive.   	   listening is 
          or listening.               	           required. 

Language  Uses words such   Uses words such as	   Uses words such as
	  as get, take,     listen, hear, tell,    see, look, watch,
          make, etc.        etc.             	   etc.
From Pick Up Your Socks c 1990, Elizabeth Crary.
Used with permission of Parenting Press, Inc., P.O. Box 75267, 
Seattle, WA 98125.

What Parents Can Do To Help

Assist in establishing study habits and a study place.

Help by practicing skills through activities and play. Help with memory work. Drill or review by calling out words or questions and by listening to recitation.

Help your child learn where to find information -- books, newspapers, magazines. Go to the library together regularly.

Offer ideas for projects related to school studies. Let your child talk ideas over with you.

Review completed homework, and discuss it with your child. Encourage her to share what has been learned.

Encourage all efforts and praise the things your child does well. Don't dwell on shortcomings.

Your involvement does take time and effort. However, most parents report that when they are involved in their child's school and homework, their child enjoys school and gets along better with teachers and peers. Your child may improve her grades and develop a positive attitude about school, education and the future. This does not mean your child will not experience disappointments and failure from time to time. We all do. Failure can be absorbed if there are plenty of experiences with success. Realistic expectations on your part as a parent will result in a greater sense of pride and achievement for your chiId.

This newsletter is published for North Dakota families with fourth-graders by the NDSU Extension Service and distributed through your county extension office. See your extension agent for more parenting information and other home economics programs.

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.

This publication will be made available in alternative format upon request to people with disabilities (701) 231-7881.

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service