So, whose homework is it anyway?
A parent’s job is to love a child, manage the child’s behavior and train the child to be a thoughtful, sensitive, independent and well-educated adult.A teacher’s job is to teach a child, right?Wrong. Teachers have new responsibilities extending beyond academic education and parents have become a support system for teachers. The “home is a learning place” philosophy often places the parent in the position of being a teacher especially when difficult homework is required.But homework should be only a way of reinforcing what has been taught in the classroom, not a way to introduce new learning. When homework requires a parent to teach a child new material and new concepts the parent is put in the untenable position of becoming the instructor. This is extremely impractical and frustrating for both the parent and the child.Filling in for teachersRecently a parent called to tell us that she has had to fill in and become a “substitute teacher” this year, instructing her 12-year-old son at home every night. She said she must teach her son new material and even direct long-term assignments or he becomes frustrated and afraid he is unprepared.In these days of hyper-stress and hyper-pressure brought on by the test-prep mentality that pervades our educational system, parents are often left to help a child complete assignments that he or she did not understand, is unable to do, or cannot complete within the expected time limit.It is often the frustrated parent who must fill in for the teacher. Following up on homework requires a set time and a specified place to do the job that is free from the distractions of other family members, telephones, computers and television programs.Sometimes this extends many hours after school when the parent has returned from work and the child is tired, hungry, frustrated and depressed.Handling homeworkSome rules for handling homework that have proved to be effective are as follows:n Always tell the teacher if you have to help your child nightly with homework. Something is very wrong if you are becoming a “substitute teacher”.n Never try to help your child with homework before he or she has had a good, nutritious meal – you are facing immediate defeat. otherwise.n A child who has difficulty at school should never be left to do homework in isolation. Left alone without monitoring, support and encouragement, most problem learners will give up become frustrated and angry.n Moms are often the one expected to handle the homework help. Often fathers can be extremely involved, supportive and offer another perspective. Parents should alternate their turns helping kids with homework. When a father is involved with a child’s schooling, studies have shown that it is a strong factor in academic achievement.n Remember it only takes one negative experience to ruin a day full of positive learning experiences. It will take at least five positive experiences to undo one negative experience for your child, educator Dorothy Briggs says. If your child has any special needs you will have to be a parent-teacher.Helping your child can be stressful and frustrating or exciting and rewarding. The choice is yours.For further information contact: Helen Ginandes Weiss M.A & Martin S. Weiss M.A., Learning Consultants, at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 38, Twin Lakes, CO. 81251, or 1-719-486-5800.
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