Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

Helping with Homework!

Ms. Connors is forever questioning her children about what homework she or he has to finish for tonight. The daughter always seems to complain, "Awww... Mom, I'll get it done." Ms. Conners just seems to fret endlessly about getting "that homework" finished "right now." The afternoons and evenings seem to be filled not with the sound of a joyous family but of a droning parent who is incessantly in her children's faces about getting that homework done, NOW! She seems to spend more time with her "problem child" Tommy, as he seems to be the one to resist her suggestions more. It is as if he and Mom are joined at the hip, "Tommy, get back over here, look at this problem, where is your pencil, STOP making that face."

The fact is that helping students with their homework may not be the best way to get the homework completed or get them on the honor roll. Helping the children requires that you as the parent tirelessly sit beside them, cajoling them into staying on task, just as Ms. Conners does, every day! However, telling your children how important academic performance is to their future job possibilities and providing specific strategies to study and learn might encourage their own diligent efforts, secure the good grades you want, and free you from being the Warden of Homework.

Children who seem to have difficulty completing their homework may not have developed the needed skills or strategies to be able to work independently, thus they are always seeming to require someone nearby to monitor and direct, reminding them to "…GET BACK TO WORK!" Never learning these self-propelling skills will limit the child's success in school.

Instilling the value of education and linking her daughter's current school work to future goals allows Ms. Conner's daughter to create a necessary percept that she needs to excel in school more than she needs Ms. Conners helping her with homework. Apparently, lack of guidance is the chief reason that academically-capable students do not go to college. They just do not put two and two together. Therefore, Ms. Conners communicating the value of education and offering curriculum advice about what to focus on in school will actually help her daughter make plans for her long-term goals, "I want to be a marine biologist."

A positive effect on her child's achievement can be created by:

• communicating the importance of current academic performance, "What grade are you planning on getting on the math test?"

• relating educational goals to occupational aspirations, "What kind of grades does one need to become a marine biologist," and

• discussing learning strategies such as "When is the best time for you to study," "How long should you study, do you think," and "How can you take planned breaks?"

Ask the question, but do not criticize the answer. Allow the child the opportunity to explore, see what is right for her and see how she might change her study habit for the next time. Allow your child to learn what works best by learning from the mistakes of the past.

What you can do is continue to allow your child to experience the consequences of her behavior. This allows her to be involved when making her decisions about doing or not doing homework. Parents can say: When homework is finished, my daughter can be on the computer or use her phone. When homework is finished:

• you can watch TV/videos.

• I'll take you to Target.

• I'd be glad to take you to Becky's house.

Create an environment where the child yearns to work to earn privileges or attention from you. Hold that carrot up high, so they can see it, but give it to them only when they earn it.

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