Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Review: Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework by Ann K. Dolin

Review by Wayne S. Walker

Published by:  Advantage Books; Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9714609-8-0
Price: $14.95
Ages: For parents with school children of all ages
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

     Synopsis:   Do your kids have problems with their homework?  With over twenty years of teaching and tutoring experience, Author Ann K. Dolin has written Homework Made Simple to help parents help their children to learn how to do their homework, thus taking the stress out of the homework experience.  In the preface, she recognizes that “there is no one cure-all for homework challenges.”  Thus, she seeks to share solutions that are diverse and reflect the specific problems that different students encounter.  The book is divided into three sections.  In Part I, “Getting Started,” the three chapters deal with finding the real problem, how parenting styles affect homework, and some principles that will work for all kids.  The six chapters of Part II contain almost 100 ideas to choose from for solving frequent, but challenging homework problems for the disorganized, the rusher, the procrastinator, the avoider, the inattentive, and the easily frustrated.  Part III concludes with three chapters discuss improving study skills, which includes a very interesting discussion of learning styles, handing difficult situations, and putting it all together.  There is a list of resources at the end for those who would like more information.  Did you know that studies shows that students who go to bed right after studying retain more information than those who engage in activities such as listening to music, watching TV, or playing video games?  That’s just one of the tips that you’ll find in this very useful book.

     Overall thoughts: There seems to be great disagreement about the question of homework.  Some believe that students need more and more homework so that they can be prepared for the workforce and our nation can compete in the global market, while others feel that too much homework places undue pressure on children, takes away from other equally important activities, and just keeps them from being kids.  Regardless of the debate, if students are in public, private, or parochial school, they will likely have some degree of homework.  A lot of students have little difficulty with homework, but there are those who find that it is very stressful both for themselves and for their parents.  Dolin has an undergraduate degree in Child Psychology with Teacher Certification for grades 1-8 and an M.Ed. in Special Education.   After a successful teaching career, she founded Educational Connections Inc., to provide individualized one-to-one instruction based on each student’s learning style.  I highly recommend this book for parents of any school-age children, whether in institutional schools or in homeschool.

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