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What Homework?

Those Pesky homework assignments are the bane of every household with teens. If you don't establish and maintain the sanctity of getting homework completed, homework can become the central theme of ongoing power struggles. These battles have a negative effect on parents' relationships with their children.

I don't remember doing homework, ever! However, someone did a study, somewhere, at some time, and decided that it is necessary for all children to do homework. It is now a fact, at least for the moment, that if children are going to be academically successful they will have to do homework. Now the responsibility has been passed down to parents to oversee that their children complete homework. The battle is on! I don't know how I learned to read, write and do math without all of those homework assignments!

I have noticed that parents work directly against themselves when it comes to getting homework completed. Parents attempt to be merciful and allow the child to have some fun before they start homework. This is a big mistake. It is difficult enough for children to transition from one mundane activity to another. If you think that your child will sweetly and lovingly, say "Yes mommy/daddy I will stop playing my game (an exciting fun activity) to write my alphabet twenty-eight times." You are completely wrong! (most kids consider this a mundane activity) You will set yourself up for a huge power struggle every time.

Your child will learn more ways to avoid homework (and let's throw chores in here as well). They will become masters at procrastination by saying, "Okay I will do it." But, after dinner, you will discover that nothing has been done. Or "I don't have any homework due until Thursday!" Do you think they mean next Thursday when actually, they mean tomorrow? You must scrutinize the dates! And who hasn't heard "I don't have any homework." a million times?

Here are a few helpful suggestions:

  1. Set aside a space for children to complete their homework. Preferably in your presence. For example, while you cook they sit at the table and complete their homework.

  2. Make sure, as much as possible, that homework is done at the same time daily. No televisions, no games, and no other competing interests should be allowed to encroach on this time.

  3. Let them do the assignment, you check it after they have completed the assignment. Children will have you doing the work while they gaze off into space until it is completed!

  4. Dinner and everything else comes after their homework is completed.

You'll know that you have achieved your goal, of developing a routine, when your children come home with their homework, take care of their primary needs, and sit down to do their homework without a battle. The more closely you stick to this routine, the fewer struggles you will have. Then you can enjoy the rest of the evening!

If there are any strategies that you have found to be helpful, please feel free to share your ideas. Enjoy your homework assignments this week!

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