Homework was not my thing in school. I typically scraped by finishing whatever subject was due just before class. This meant I was often in stealth ninja mode completing my assignments for one class while pretending to listen to the teacher of another.
It became a vicious cycle that I successfully navigated for most of my middle and high school career. It worked for me at the time, I actually graduated high-school with honors, but I would discover that I wasn’t doing myself any favors once I reached college.
Unfortunately, my learned routine would not work in an environment where the ability to study independently would make or break my undergraduate career. My study habits sucked, and I learned that college professors could be very unforgiving, much like the real world.
This past year, my son entered the first grade. I had been warned that he would be overwhelmed with homework. I lost count of the masses of parents who complained that six and seven-years-olds aren’t ready for nightly homework and “ridiculous” projects. Sadly, I almost bit and joined in the negative rants knowing that our son would be one of the youngest 1st graders in his school.
The first semester has come and gone and I’m happy to report that our first grader has, indeed, had homework every night. In addition to his homework, he’s required to read a minimum of 60 minutes per week. And, yes, there has been a project or two sprinkled in for good measure.
Being the parent of a grade-schooler, I hear the groans and displeasure of our students’ homework much more frequently. It’s no wonder our children grow and enter successive grades with such disdain for homework and independent study. Our students enter school eager to learn, thirsting for knowledge, and within just a few short years look at education and classrooms with contempt all due to the behavior modeled by their parents.
Homework becomes an inconvenience, and many parents voice their displeasure of this interruption to their children.
A parent’s number one complaint regarding homework and helping their children study is the lack of time. It’s hard to get in homework between all the extracurricular activities. Many parents echo that homework just adds to the stress of a busy schedule.
Ask yourself, who makes the grade-schooler’s schedule busy? Who’s adding the stress by initiating a chaotic schedule? Where are we teaching our children to focus their priorities when extracurricular activities are valued ahead of education? Who’s really to blame when your child brings home a grade less than your expectation?
Too often, we focus the blame on our teachers and a failing education system. As parents, we should be challenged to discover our own accountability for helping our children thrive and grow as a student and life long learner. By putting emphasis on homework and independent study, is it possible that we encourage our children to discover their own strengths and self worth?
Are you encouraging your children to put education or extracurricular first? What are some ways that you’re making time to help your child complete their homework and school projects?