Homework – Whose Work is It?

momtvghost2I can’t tell you the number of teachers I have spoken with or conversations I have had with parents around this sticky subject.

Here is a thought from one teacher that sums up so nicely a perspective that supports the goal of creating responsible kids by allowing them to make decisions, experience their results and adjust accordingly.

“It is most certainly a disservice to children, teachers and our community at large when parents insert themselves into a child’s homework responsibilities. Each time a child is denied the opportunity to solve this age old problem, their learning stops. Answering all 24 math problems is not nearly as important as making all the decisions necessary to complete the homework assignment.”

I couldn’t agree more. So the next time you are tempted to jump in and help, remember the powerful words of one 30 year veteran and find something else to do that will enhance the relationship with your child.

Enjoy the free time.

4 thoughts on “Homework – Whose Work is It?

  1. I definitely agree in concept and would never do homework for my children–but when you have a child with ADD who can’t sit still long enough to focus on her homework, not getting involved doesn’t really work. I am constantly redirecting her attention and asking her questions to get her to focus on the task at hand. Perhaps that is not what the teacher means by “jumping in?”

  2. Morning,

    This is always a tricky conversation so let me start by saying – I don’t have kids with ADD or I do and they were never diagnosed. – so I don’t know the day to day challenges.

    I do know that a common theme that comes up in conversations with parents is this –

    They find themselves reminding, nagging, lecturing, redirection, staying involved, managing, bribing their kids into doing their homework – because they truly believe that this is necessary.

    Wiggly kids stay wiggly and distracted and the cycle continues.

    I always encourage parents to watch their kids when they are engaged in other activities and see if they continue this wiggly distracted behavior. If not, then I keep coming back to the same thing….

    What a perfect solution for

    1. Getting out of work you would rather not do – lets face it math isn’t all that exciting for some of us
    2. Keep mom and/or dad close at hand and completely involved
    3. A system for “blaming” other people when things don’t work out they way the child wants

    Lets face it – if the kids can stay focused on the soccer field, or in front of the tv or playing lego’s then maybe there is more going on.

    The problem as I see it, is that the relationship between parent and child is fractured. This seems so much more important to me then finishing a math sheet.

    Now, I’m not saying, and I know teachers are not saying to throw up your hands, walk away and adopt the attitude of “oh well – it’s not my job”, but I do believe there is a balance.

    A balance that doesn’t include a fracture in the relationship and a child who flunks out. The challenge is finding the balance.

    The other concern I have is this – who will take on this job in the child’s life when they leave home? A roommate, a professor at college, a boss, a spouse? Of course not. So in the end, you can get your kids through the 12 years of school, but eventually they leave and then what?

    Have they learned HOW to manage their ADD or whatever else they might have? Do they have strategies for redirecting their attention? Do they have confidence that they can do it on their own?

    Children are brilliant. All of them. They can find solutions to problems that adults would never think of. The problem is, that sometimes, in all our wisdom and experience, we squash their solutions before we give them a try.

    I think what the teacher and I are both suggesting is that as parents, we question our motives, look at what we are doing and why we are doing it and then challenge ourselves to look at the situation from a different perspective and then finally, to make peace with whatever decision we make.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I know parents really struggle with this one and if there is anything I can do, either professionally or personally, I will do it.

    Be Well,

  3. My daughter doesn’t have ADD but she’s still distracted when it comes to anything she doesn’t really want to do. That includes homework, making her lunch, doing her contributions. But when given a choice what to do she can stay focused forever!

    Last week she came home with her homework folder on Monday and promptly put it aside. She didn’t pick it up again until Thursday when I , honestly I manipulated her, into remembering she had to take her homework folder back to school. She hadn’t even looked at her spelling words! She quickly did her math, we went over the spelling and off she went to school on Friday. She told me Thursday night at 4pm, while I was making dinner, she needed to play the math game at least twice before Friday. I told her I didn’t have time at 4pm on a Thursday to play. But she didn’t have to take the game back and there isn’t really any motivation to play the game so she was fine with that. Of course, she got a 100% on her spelling because that’s one of her strengths and we worked on spelling part of the summer so it’s really all review for her.

    I know this is my issue. I am afraid she is going to be a lazy studier like me. It made it hard when I went to college to motivate myself to study and I failed a few classes. I just don’t want that for her. And yet, I know that it’s not about me. I’m projecting on her. So I just need to let it be. Let’s see how this week goes!

  4. You are a brave and insightful and loving and brilliant woman-mom-person.

    Of course it is your issue. It is always OUR issue. It is never the poor kids’ issue. But you know that and so you can decide in each situation, what you want to do – WHO you want to be.

    Do you REALLY want to drag your past into her life? How do you KNOW she will stay lazy and unmotivated and struggle college.

    I have a suspicion that if you keep talking about it, keep pushing the issue that she most certainly will turn into what you are most afraid of.

    BUT – you have it. You have the insight. You know it’s you so anything is possible. It will be slow, but you will do it and you will witness the experience.

    Ohhhhhhh – to have young kids again. What fun, what fun. Keep me posted.


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