Do Parents Have Homework Assignments??
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Do Parents Have Homework Assignments??

Topic for the Day:
How much homework are parents doing? 
As an instructor of STEP -- I very much hope that the answer is: NONE.
A lot of our approach with STEP involves stepping back—from pampering our children, from punishing our children, and from being the dreaded “helicopter parents”. You know-- when we can’t refrain from the impulse to hover and “help”, cajole and wheedle, flatter and fight-- over every responsibility that should rightly belong to our children, even the little ones.
So what’s the answer? Let school be your child’s job. You can help in many different ways—for example:
  • by modeling a love of learning; by discussing with interest what they are doing in school -- ask WHAT they learned about, not their most recent grades;
  • by finding the “lessons” in everyday chores and activities that you do together;
  • by giving them a comfortable, well-supplied place to do their homework;
  • by giving limited choices that imply your expectations, such as "would you like to do your homework now, or after practice?";
  • by acting as a “consultant”—for ex. helping to explain directions;
  • by reading to and with them, and letting them read to you;
  • and by generally encouraging them to find the joy in learning, even when it’s mundane stuff like memorizing facts.
Most important, you can show your child that you have confidence in their power to manage their school responsibilities.
What you shouldn’t do is short-circuit the learning process by making sure their homework is correct. The teacher needs to see where he/she is not getting the lessons across, and where your child may need extra attention or help. If you are helping to hand in “perfect work”, your child is getting a grade they haven’t earned, and the teacher doesn’t see where more learning may need to take place.
So—you’ve already been through the 3rd grade—no need to do it again. Give your child a kiss and a smile and let him or her find their own way in school.
Now, class-- any questions??

4 Comments to Do Parents Have Homework Assignments??:

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Janine on Thursday, February 10, 2011 2:40 PM
Liz - I completely agree!!! My days of doing the kids homework are over, but we can assist as you describe here. Its hard to not take your kids grades as a reflection on you, but that's also part of the challenge of letting go! Thanks!
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Karen on Thursday, February 10, 2011 2:55 PM
Great ideas! I can definitely see how these methods can help (and I'm glad I'm doing many of them). Any good ideas about things to teach them while doing chores? I have a 6 and a 5 year old so it's a great time to start. Thanks!
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Anonymous on Thursday, February 10, 2011 7:02 PM
Karen-- thanks for your note-- great to hear from you! What chores do you have them doing? That will help dictate the ideas for "teaching moments". For ex-- folding towels can be "fractions"; food prep can be "science" -- really just simple stuff; shopping/spending chores can be "banking". When I'm at a loss I'll usually ask questions--"What do you think about this? Which would you rather do?"-- stuff like that. Just find your creative side. With a 5- and 6- y.o., you can be as silly as you want, too. Being able to laugh together is a nice bonus!

Norvy Elliot on Monday, February 21, 2011 2:51 PM
You're absolutely right, Liz! Most of us caring and involved parents have the tendency to "help" our children w/their homework. However, the biggest help we can really provide them, is to provide a routine, give them an area to do their homework in, but let them do their homework on their own. That is their job and their "boss" in this case is their teacher(s) and school. I found this extremely hard to do initially when our daughter was in Kindergarten. However, now she's 12, she has her homework routine down and it has to be done either before or around extracurricular activities and she's doing amazing at school. I guess I caught myself w/this dilemma early on, but I took STEP and it just helped drive that point home. PARENTS, it works. STEP away and you'll see your child STEP up and take charge!
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