Homework…To Help or Not to Help
With school back in session, it won’t be long before you’ll hear, “Mom, I need help with my homework.” For many parents, this statement may initiate a sigh, an eye-roll, or even a feeling of dread! After all, it’s been a few years since we’ve been in school, studying English, algebra, and social studies!
When it comes to homework help, parents really have only two responsibilities:
First, we should provide our kids with the opportunity to do their work. This means we help them identify a time and a place of their choice to study. Once we’ve done this, we have to understand that the ball is now in their court. We can’t force them to open a book, read a chapter, or write a paper, but we can require that they set aside the time to do it. Sure, it is disappointing and frustrating when they don’t get their assignments done, but as responsible parents we have to be willing to allow our kids to experience the consequences of that flawed decision. If you rob them of the experience of the embarrassment of a bad grade, a missed recess to make up the work, or a visit with the principal, your student will never learn that with every decision there comes a consequence – in this case, that ignoring homework will bring negative and uncomfortable results. That small, invaluable lesson will most certainly encourage more effort and better time management for the next homework session.
Our second responsibility regarding homework is to be a positive role model for our children when it comes to getting our own work done. One way to do this is by showing our kids how we manage our own responsibilities before enjoying other activities. For example, we can say, “Wow, I sure have a lot of dishes to wash before I can relax and watch TV.” Or, “I have to work hard tomorrow at work to get a project done so I can take Friday afternoon off and attend your football game.” These statements demonstrate that we know how important it is to get work done before play.
As parents, we can and should play a supportive role when it comes to homework. If they have a question or need a hint, it’s important for us to be there and encourage them. It is also important to remember that if an argument over an answer begins to brew, you’ve helped enough. Don’t set an unhealthy example by making their homework your problem. You’ll both be happier (and smarter!) when you know where to draw the line when it comes to homework help!
If you find, however, that there is more to the story than a lack of effort, it is important to get your child the help they need to learn skills like organization, time and project management and good study habits. The Organizing Tutor, Come To Order’s “student division,” has just the resources you need. Just give us a call and we will be happy to walk you through what we have to offer!
Here’s wishing you and your child a successful and productive school year!
Ideas derived from Parenting with Love & Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility by Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay.