The Good of Homework
Many parents struggle with the homework that is given to their children. Some parents feel that the kids are given too much homework or that the assignments are too difficult. Some parents eventually just do their children’s homework to avoid the hassle of forcing them to do it. Doing this may make the night more peaceful, but it deprives your child of some vital skills.
The obvious aim of assigning homework is to provide your child with the opportunity to practice and strengthen his academic skills. Homework also equips kids with skills of responsibility, time management, perseverance, self-reliance, initiative, and resourcefulness, says John Rosemond, family psychologist and Director of The Center for Affirmative Parenting in North Carolina. According to Linda Sonna, a clinical psychologist who has worked as a teacher and a counselor, homework offers children a vast amount of skills. She says that homework allows children to practice following directions and encourages them to leap from understanding to applying school lessons.
- Create a private and personal space for your child to do homework: Rosemond says the area needs to be comfortable and self-contained, meaning the area is well-stocked with necessary supplies such as paper, pencils, a dictionary, and even a glass of water. This will reduce problems in getting started, will keep parents from hovering, and will help your child be productive.
- Help your children only when they ask for it: Do not run to every beck and call. If he has a question, make him bring his text and notebook to you. Make your instruction brief and encouraging. If it takes longer than fifteen minutes for you to help your child, refer him back to his teacher, says Rosemond. This helps your child learn to be resourceful and to persevere.
- Provide consistency: Like any ritual, it takes time for homework to become a ritual. Providing your child the same place to do her assignments will reinforce the “homework ritual.” Make sure that your child does her homework at the same time every day, adds Sonna. This will add to the stability of the “homework ritual.”
- Parents should be consultants, not participants, in homework. Consultants advise, clarify, and demonstrate. Participants involve themselves in the work. By being a consultant instead of a participant, you will send messages of trust and personal worth to your child and will allow her the freedom to expand her abilities. With increased self-confidence and personal autonomy, your child will complete her homework, putting an end to the hassles.
Rosemond, J. (1990). Ending the Homework Hassle. Kansas City: Andrews and McNeel. Sonna, L. (1994). The Homework Plan: A Parent's Guide To Helping Kids Excel. New York: Berkeley Books.