Do you feel liked you are being held captive by your child’s homework?
AH! I’ve been there in the cell with you!
No matter if the child is a high achiever or a struggling student, his homework often becomes mom or dad’s. Parents can get emotionally attached to their kid’s school work.
Most of us would say we HELP our kids with homework. But many parents actually take it over. Intentions are good, we want our kids to succeed but are we actually impeding their learning?
Some parents unintentionally enable their child to be an underachiever by the amount of parental involvement (or you could say…rescuing).
Let’s redefine homework success before talking about strategies to get there.
Homework is given by teachers to either extend learning by going deeper, expand learning by going wider, or reinforce lessons taught in the classroom. Success happens when the student’s knowledge base, understanding, and ability to synthesize, apply, and transfer what he or she has learned has taken place.
Success also includes learning from mistakes. (You may want to read a post on this topic. See the link below).
Ownership of the work and responsibility for the learning must be the child’s. That’s success.
Homework can become a bone of contention between parents and kids. One mom and her child stayed up for HOURS attempting to do a middle school math problem. They were stuck. They snapped at each other. Finally they quit. The frustrated mom contacted the teacher the following morning and explained the effort and time “they” had put into this assignment. The teacher responded with, “Well, I’m just glad to hear you spent some time with your child.” What? Really? I’m sure that mom (and kid) could come up with all kinds of other more enjoyable ways to spend time together.
Assignments done at home have the potential for creating an “Now I’m in charge of your school work too” environment. Another mom shared with me that each evening when it’s time for homework, her nine-year-old child has a major melt down. The session concludes with mom and child angry and in tears. Not uncommon.
Take off homework controller hat and let your child wear it.
Think of it like this, parents are in charge of most everything in their child’s life: food, entertainment, extra-curricular activities, church, meals, and bedtime.
The child needs to own his learning, his successes and his failures.
1. Help your child set up a place and time to do homework.
2. Be available. But don’t HOVER!
3. Resist the urge to take over. (Of course you could do it better…with the exception of me helping with math…my kids were better off without my “input”. Remember you are not the one receiving the grade.)
With your youngsters, actually become The Assistant. Make a special badge that says, “Official Homework Assistant”. Put it on during home study time.This will serve to remind the child and the parent that the homework is the student’s.
Say, “This is your work AND I’m here to help you. You are in charge of letting me know how I can help you.”
By using this approach, you will be on your child’s team as opposed to being pitted against him. The student will be invested in his work. And… you will be released from the homework jail.
Freedom is good!
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About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.