The Joys of Homework
Like many parents, I have mixed feelings about homework. There is a part of me that loves the fact that my children are consolidating their knowledge but there is a bigger part of me that can often find it completely overwhelming.
Up until a year ago, I was ‘all over’ my kids’ homework. I made sure my younger boys had their online Mathletics completed and spelling words learnt (usually). I insisted on editing my eldest sons’ essays and checking their PowerPoint presentations. Tiger mother? Absolutely!
But I have to tell you – it was completely exhausting! Whilst I knew it was not sustainable, I was very conscious that most other parents were doing the same, if not more – in some cases completing assignments for their kids!
After much soul searching (and in the interests of my mental health) I made some changes. I decided it was more important to focus on the long term goal of teaching my children to be independent and self-reliant than it was to ‘spoon feed’ them in the short term.
As parents, I strongly believe it is our job to help our children become self-propelled adults who can manage their own lives. Is there really any benefit in breathing down their necks (and causing tension along the way)? Wouldn’t it be better to provide some gentle reminders on key dates, suggestions on getting organised and let them learn about the importance of planning and fulfilling their responsibilities? I think so!
So here is how I manage homework in our house (at the moment!).
- If homework is left at home, I don’t take it to school unless it is truly life-threatening.
- If the boys have questions, I encourage them to get online and research. I always suggest starting with Wikipedia.
- If homework isn’t complete, I don’t offer to email the teacher (unless they are completely terrified). I encourage them to explain to the teacher that they will catch up.
- I don’t edit my bigger boys’ assignments. I encourage them to read their work through several times and again with fresh eyes.
- I have my younger boys complete their written homework in the morning, when they are fresh and their computer homework in the afternoon.
- I now leave my big boys to manage the due dates for assignments.
So, what is your approach to homework? Are you heavily involved or do you let your children run their own race?