*This article is a guest post from Dr. Deana Westedt, an Elite Academic parent

For parents of students learning at home who have difficulty completing their work, it can be a mystery that stumps the cleverest amongst us and leaves us wondering how to get them back on track. We know they are capable, yet work remains undone and refusal may ensue. Such circumstances can directly impact the dynamics in the home.

Here are some top tips for digging deep into such challenges and how to work with your child to get things going, even if they never really were!

1. Talk with your child

Ask your child what is hard about getting their work done. The answer may surprise you. It may have nothing to do with the type of work given at all. Find out from them some ideas of what they think might help to improve their work completion. These conversations can smooth out the rough edges and teach your child important communication skills to resolve conflict and challenges.

2. Consider setting a timer and giving a concrete amount of time to work

Sometimes the task may simply feel overwhelming and a child who does not developmentally have a sense of time or has neurodiversity may react by avoidance or outbursts. Setting a finite time with a definite beginning and end can help to scaffold this skill of work for them. If they can only work for one minute independently to begin with… go with it! Start with their success point and work your way up.

3. Balance

Consider what options you can offer your child for some child-led learning time. For example, you may consider giving a when-then challenge that includes preferred activities. For example, you can say,” When you have X amount of this done, you may…. (Fill in the blank with whatever activity they like to do such as Legos, etc.)

4. “When…then” for technology

If technology is a part of the issue, use the above-mentioned when/then technique. There are a million different ways you can vary it for your family. There isn’t one right way, so you may have to tweak it here and there before you find a program of sorts that works for your family. Whenever possible, include your child in the conversation surrounding tech issues, as this may increase buy-in from them.

About the author

Dr. Deanna Westedt is an Elite Parent as well as a speaker, teacher and motivator. Dr. Deanna Westedt is helping parents maximize their homeschool experience to bring out the full potential of learning in the home setting. She tackles the most common and difficult challenges of homeschool, drawing from both personal homeschool experience and blending that with developmental and learning theory. Her unique understanding of the homeschool lifestyle combined with her research into scaffolding learning for all kinds of learners, including those with learning disabilities and giftedness, makes her guidance second to none!