By: Ann K. Dolin
Publisher: Advantage Books
Publication Date: September 2010
Reviewed by: Eloise Michael
Review Date: September 2010
If your child is having trouble with homework, there are many books available that can offer advice. Why choose Homework Made Simple by Ann K. Dolin? There are several features that make this book stand out among the others. One is that the book will be helpful to any family regardless of parenting style, home situation, or the particular issues that are getting in the way of a child's successful homework completion. In fact each section of this book is potentially useful to all parents, even those whose children are completing homework without complaint. Good study habits, such as being organized and effectively managing time, will serve kids throughout their lives.
Homework Made Simple is also easy to use. Dolin is clearly qualified to write about organization. This book is extremely well organized! Dolin includes every necessary detail-- right where you would want it-- but never repeats herself and never includes extraneous information. Dolin gets right to the point and offers suggestions that parents can apply immediately. Dolin's suggestions are concrete and specific, but flexible enough to work in a variety of settings.
Busy parents who are anxious about their children will surely appreciate the clarity and efficiency of Dolin's style, as well as the ease with which they can refer back to the book and find the information they need. There are lists of resources in the back. The book is also filled with charts, sample checklists, and schedules, that parents will want to revisit.
Dolin's tone, which is uniquely encouraging and empathetic, is another reason to choose this guide to good study habits. Dolin is a former teacher, with a Master's degree in Special Education, who runs a successful tutoring business. She is clearly an expert in her field. The author's tone, however, is not one of an expert telling parents how to do it right. She is more like a friend offering suggestions that have worked for her over the years.
Dolin is respectful of the many challenges that parents face each day. Though she believes that parents can make a big difference in their children's school achievement, Dolin never implies that problems are the fault of the parent. She acknowledges the range of obstacles that families may be facing with empathy, and then offers practical suggestions to address some specific issues.
Dolin encourages parents to try a few of the systems and routines she describes, not all of them at once, so beginning the process should not seem daunting. Dolin's encouraging tone will help parents feel capable and empowered. When parent and student have begun to experience success and are ready to try more of Dolin's suggestions, it will be easy for them to find the information they need in Homework Made Simple without having to waste time searching for it in the book.
Still, as I was reading this book, I found myself thinking, “This sounds like a lot of work!” Dolin is clear that children and teens experience homework success with consistent rules and consistent support from their parents. Children cannot make it happen on their own-- even with the help of a dedicated tutor. If you have a school-aged child or teen, however, you know already that parenting is a lot of work-- especially when your child is struggling with homework.
Homework Made Simple is a step-by-step outline that will make the job more manageable. Dolin has done some of the work for her readers by trying different strategies and finding the ones that work best, and also by researching materials that can help. Parents who are ready to do what it takes to support their kids will appreciate having a place to start and an encouraging coach. Most of all, they will appreciate seeing that their efforts make a difference.
Quill says: The place to start for any parent whose child is struggling with homework.