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Q. After my son struggled through the first quarter of fifth grade, his teacher asked us to review his homework before he hands it in. But now our son says we're treating him like a first grader. Is there a better way we can handle this situation?
A. I'd back up a bit. This is an excellent opportunity for your son to develop some measure of control by learning to articulate the problem and find a solution. Have him meet with his teacher, with you sitting beside him as backup. He should ask her why she's unhappy with his work. If she says it's rushed or incomplete, why does your son think this is the case? He should also tell her what makes it hard for him to do his best and what helps him to do well. Then the two of them should create a plan. When you get home, allow your son to pick a designated homework time and help him organize his workspace.
Originally published in the December 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.