Did you know the biggest struggle parents have with their kids is homework? The struggle gets real the first-time students get homework, and this problem continues throughout their entire school years. I remember as a kid when I was assigned homework, boy you talk about stressful times! When I did not know how to do it, my mother would yell and scream, and even ridicule me, by telling me how much smarter my little brother was compared to me. I used to hate homework, it was more of a problem, because I knew the night was going to be long and stressful. So, my question is, why does homework have to be such a struggle? The goal of homework is to enhance student achievement, to help them become self-directed, independent learners, and to develop awesome working habits. The teacher’s intent of assigning homework is not to punish, but to help the student be self-directed, but what happens is that many parents end up micromanaging their child’s homework.
The parents try to do the right thing for the child, and instead of having the student take responsibility for their own success, the parent ends up taking the responsibility for their kids’ success. When this happens, kids learn that homework and grades are more important to their parents and teachers than themselves. What ends up happening is that kids end up not caring about their homework, they refuse to do it, and for many cases like what went on with my mom and me, a power struggle took place! In the end, kids will end up proving to you, that you can’t make them do their homework. Some other challenges that goes along with assigning homework are, kids may have countless after-school activities, parents maybe working full or part time or are single parents with too many responsibilities. If parents have more than one child in the school, it becomes a bigger problem. The struggle of trying to find time for kids to get their homework done becomes an issue that teachers can’t control. I am not suggesting that teachers ban homework altogether, but what I think is teachers need to understand the issues that happen outside of the classroom.
Some of your students are so stressed about doing their homework that they end up giving up, due to all the issues of fighting with parents. Kids will even start lying about not having homework, due to the issues. It ends up taking the joy out of education. Furthermore, when homework doesn’t get done at the house, teachers suggest that parents discipline their child for not getting their homework turned in on time. Let’s flip the script for a moment, how would react if a parent asked you to discipline their kid for not getting their room cleaned or choirs done? If you are like me, you would be like, OMG I am not responsible for disciplining your child for not getting their house choirs done! This ends up becoming a battle which is stressful for all stakeholders involved. Our end goal should be getting our students to take responsibility on completing their homework, but what happens is we focus too much on punishment and when we don’t get what we want, we end up assigning more punishment. We have this belief that the more punishment the child receives, the more motivated the child will be to succeed. You have to remember, punishing a child to be motivated will not work. So, we have to find different approaches when it comes to homework.
One positive way is to have parents offer encouragement for their kids to complete their homework. Teachers might even have a parent-student-teacher problem solving meeting to help guide the student on coming up with solutions on getting the homework completed. When doing this, just remember, don’t gang up on the student. The goal is to guide the student to come up with a plan. The student may have choices on which nights of the week will be homework night. Remember when students have input and choices they perform better. Another option teacher could do is to tailor the homework to the student. You may have some students who need a lot of practice, and others who need more of a challenge. You might even offer opportunities where student can opt out of homework by scoring high on quizzes and tests. Some other cool ideas teacher can do are setting their own policies about what they will do if homework is not completed. Teachers can use the first this, then that method. For example, first homework, then free time. Or teachers can create a homework club that takes place at school, to give kids opportunities to do their homework and get help on it if needed.
You can also set up a homework zone in your classroom, where kids help each other out with their homework. Another cool idea is to assign homework buddies, this is really helpful for older students. What it does is it establishes an accountability partner. You may have students that just can’t study by themselves and they need someone to study with them, to help motivate them to study. Just remember student, teachers, and parents don’t have to suffer when it comes to achieving academic success. If you just start thinking outside the box, there are plenty of awesome alternatives you can do. Your end goal is to get students to take responsibility and be accountable for themselves, instead of expecting their parents to make them be accountable