Special Education/homework


The links you sent seem to be mixed, some in support of homework.
It seems they all agree homework isn't that useful in lower grades but is in upper grades.
Is reduced homework a typical accommodation?
My fear is it will be noted my son isn't keeping up if he can't keep up with homework.
They give homework no kid can do alone anyway! It's ridiculous.
I asked for a week's homework but they said they can't because the lessons are fluid and they don't know the homework for the week. Any advice?

Hi Jayne,

Thank you so much for your follow up about homework.  Wow, this is an issue I talk with parents about almost every day.  

An adjusted workload, including homework, requires parents and teams to work together.  First, it needs to be agreed to in the 504 Plan or IEP.  Then, the school and you parents will need to work together to get it implemented properly.  Homework is supposed to be independent practice that follows the classroom lesson.  So it may be reasonable that it is given out each night.  The key is that your child should be learning at school, then the teachers guide practice of a skill, and then give homework for independent practice.  

There are always general education expectations for the amount of homework a child should be doing.  I would ask the school administration and teachers the expectation per night for homework, and not go beyond that.  

It is important to figure out why the homework cannot be done independently.  Is it too much?  Is there not enough time? Does your child not understand what he is learning at school and so homework time is you re-teaching?  If it is simply too much, I would go back to the last paragraph, get the expected time for students in the school at his grade level, and then write notes on the homework that your child could not finish.  

It is a poor dynamic that is not beneficial to the child most times where the parent works with the child all evening, usually at the expense of the peace and well being of a family, and then the child has all of his homework ready to bring back to school.  

This sets up a dynamic where the teachers cannot accurately assess what he has learned and where he is in the learning process. And lots of frustration by parents.

Also, your child may need an easier way to do homework.  Ask the school for parent training and support how to provide accommodations or technology to do the homework, as one suggestion.  It may be that the writing process is the issue...if so, the school could be teaching your child how to use technology or accept alternate products which show his knowledge and understanding, in lieu of the standard assignment.  

My recommendation is to stick with the amount of time that all children spend, then send the homework incomplete, until you can have a meeting for the purpose of discussing this issue with the school.  Either that, or individually have teacher meetings to come up with ways to solve the problem.  

I am not sure that week in advance homework will solve the issue. He may try to do homework in that situation before instruction has occurred.  

I hope this answer was useful to you and please feel free to follow up with me again!  I wish you the BEST as you advocate for your exceptional child's education!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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