When my oldest son started kindergarten, I was all about the homework. Since I am a stay-at-home parent, I became completely involved in his homework process. I missed him so much during the day, that I relished this one-on-one time with him. At about the midpoint of the year, he had the ability to do the worksheets he brought home without me hovering. I still hovered anyway. Part of me knew this was wrong, but I couldn’t help myself. I started to imagine homework in future years. Did I really want to be so responsible for my kid’s work and/or grades? The honest answer was ‘absolutely yes!’, the better answer was a thoughtful and reserved ‘no’. It took me some time, but by his first grade year, I was able to take a big step back and let him do his own work. He actually seemed to appreciate that I had confidence in him and he seemed proud to do it on his own.
As my boys have gotten older and the homework more challenging, if they don’t understand something, I encourage them to wait until they can speak directly with their teacher about it. This usually works because it puts the responsibility back on them. Maybe they aren’t paying attention in class like they should, or maybe they truly don’t understand what the teacher wants. Either way, this allows them a chance to figure it out themselves and get the clarity they need from their teacher.
Of course it isn’t always so simple. Thankfully, there are lots of other ways to address the hassle of homework. Riverview Counseling Services is offering a FREE parenting workshop to give you lots of options and support. To learn more about this workshop, click on our ‘free parenting presentation schedule’ button on our homepage. “Homework Help: Avoiding the Homework Battle with Your Child” is scheduled for Thursday, October 23, 2014 @1:00pm. To register, contact Cheryl Denz at 630/587-3777 x103.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent