Parent’s role in their children’s homework

I know homework continues to be a controversial topic :-) no doubt about it. Some of us will be in favour of the Homework and some will completely oppose the homework. In fact there are number of theories and researches available on this topic either supporting or opposing the Homework policy and we all are pretty much aware of it…

Before moving further, let me clarify that I do support homework policy but in moderation, taking into account the students age, level of understanding and making sure they get ample time to finish the assigned task. At the same time, as a teacher, I too expect (yes expect) my students to finish their task in the given time if all the above constraints are fulfilled. Although I am not discussing here whether homework is good or bad instead I would like to understand & focus on how Parent’s attitude towards kid’s homework (up to 12yrs) affect them.

 Over the years I have seen and experienced the same situation, where many of my class students couldn’t finish their homework in spite of giving them age appropriate homework and enough time. It’s not just about completing the given task but about understanding the importance of education, hard work & responsibility at an early age. I don’t think whether a child having a homework or not is really an issue, the issue is more about what each family (parents) feels is important for their child’s development. I am neither an expert nor a researcher on this topic but I surely have enough experience as a teacher for kids 5-13yrs, as a stay-at-home mom & as a former full time working mom of two, to discuss this.

Let me begin by writing “Homework is a unique task given in the school/class but completed at home.” In short, homework expects school’s-child’s and parent’s involvement in completing the assigned task. It also expects that teachers and parents should join hands and work together to shape up child’s future. In the process, gradually make a child independent & responsible to complete his/her own task with the parental monitoring but not with complete involvement and interference.

My years of experience and observation suggest that if we, parents, take a more positive and supportive approach while dealing with kid’s homework or teaching them importance of education, then this encouragement could go a long way. To be honest, based on my personal experience, at times I find this approach very difficult & challenging but I have understood one thing over the years that persistence is the key to master this. Once in a while not following this approach is completely understandable considering we give detailed explanation to our kids and not make it a habit.

On the contrary, if we, parents, fail to do so then the children will surely lack this important study skill because we are the prime educators in our children’s lives and we continue to be the major influence on their learning. Hence I have decided to understand the day to day scenarios we, parents, go through which could adversely affect our children’s (up to 12yrs) attitude towards homework, classes or education in general. Taking into consideration the modern lifestyle, parenting skills and standards of living, I have consolidated this list —

  • Both mom and Dad are working & after a long stressful day they don’t want to spend time on the homework rather they want to give their kids a ‘Quality Time’.
  • One of the parents is at home but so occupied in different things that he/she has less or no time to look at the kid’s homework or tasks.
  • Most of the times, even if parents are physically at home or with children but their mind is pre-occupied with different things and are continuously on the phone (WA/FB etc) which restrict them to be with their children wholeheartedly.
  • Based on the parents interest and beliefs different priorities are given to different tasks and in the process some tasks get neglected.
  • Parents are willing to provide all the stuff needed to complete the task but parents either don’t have time or are not interested to sit down and help their children personally.
  • Most of the times personal commitments are so important that the homework takes a back seat.
  • Sometimes children are very playful or not interested in the task given to them and parents give in to their children’s wishes. Parents find these tasks as a tension-torture rather than a constructive activity and are not ready to encourage their children if they are not interested.
  • Sometimes we, parents, follow the ‘Convenient Parenting’ approach in which based on parent’s interest, mood, priorities, comfort, personal/professional commitments etc decides if a child could complete the task or not. As we all know, young children are very much under the direct influence (control) of their parents.

We, parents, want the best for our children and we try hard for that, at the same time we all know that our children don’t come in this world with “a personalized parenting guide “or “a personalized Instruction set on how to raise a child” hence everything we do for our children in their initial-formative years is kind of a trial-error method, based on the information acquired through books, websites or someone else’s experiences or advices. At the same time our beliefs, our upbringing, feelings, desires and thoughts play an important role while raising our children.

We, parents, should spend enough time with children and guide them properly in the initial years & make them understand the value of education and working hard rather than just getting the good grades or finishing the task. If we parents show interest and enthusiasm in our children’s work then they too think that their work is important and they should take it seriously. The children need more help and guidance in the initial years and we can provide that by making ourselves available whenever they need us. We parents should make our children understand that we are available for them to help if they get stuck or guide them but not to do their work/task completely on their behalf. Always praise children for their efforts-hard work this will give them the sense of achievement and they will start believing in themselves.

We all know that our children observe what we do, what we say and if we, parents, follow the good study skills, discipline, time management then our children will learn from our examples because it is easy to inculcate good habits at an early age. This will surely help our children to become independent, responsible and self-motivated performer.

 

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