The number of times my parents helped me with my homework is pretty low. In fact it's a big, fat ZERO! My mom never corrected my homework or helped with a school project. The most help she would give was going over test questions to help me study for a test. That and she provided me with the resources I needed to complete said school projects.
The result? I learned to take responsibility for my own successes and failures. She expected good grades and she showed me how to study and encouraged me but the work was mine and mine alone. So was the incredible feeling of accomplishment when I worked hard and earned a good grade.
My how things have changed in 25 years! Nowadays, it seems like parents are expected to immerse themselves in their child's education to the point of doing the work for them! Of course it's a good thing to help our children. We should encourage their learning and provide resources but I believe that doing the homework is crossing the line.
My husband and I read to our children every night. We check homework, play learning games and review test questions but homework is their responsibility. We remind them to do it and if they don't? Too bad...they get to face the consequences for that decision and stay in for recess or get a bad grade.
Teachers aren't always supportive of our policy. Just last week I got a call from the school telling me that my fourth grader forgot her binder with her homework. I looked over at the table and sure enough, there it was, still drizzled with pancake syrup.
"Can you bring her binder in, please?"
"Can I? Sure. Will I, no way!"
There was a gasp on the other end of the phone and then silence. You could cut the awkwardness with a chainsaw.
"Listen, I reminded her to pack her things. She didn't do it and that was her choice. If she has to stay in for recess because she forgot her homework then so be it. She needs to take responsibility for her actions or lack thereof."
The woman cleared her throat and said, "OK."
I felt the pangs of guilt, those pains that come when you have to make a decision that allows your children to fall on their face for the sake of it being good for them.
I recently read an article promoting a parent's hand off approach to homework and one woman wrote:
"What would happen if we stopped helping our kids with homework? The kids would get punished at school for their incomplete homework. Then they would become anxious and depressed. Let’s find a way of going about it that doesn’t hurt our kids."
Punished at school? C'mon. It's not like they shackle the kids to a wall of shame and hit them with a switch. The worst that could happen is the kid loses a privilege like recess or gets a bad grade. And really? The kids are going to get depressed and anxious because they got a bad grade?
If you're going for the approach of never holding your children accountable for their homework then you better be prepared for the long haul. You might still be helping in high school and college. Your kid may even call you when they are 28 and have a presentation to do for work.
I'm thinking it might make your child a little anxious and depressed if he can't keep a job because he doesn't know the value of handling responsibility, managing time and having good work habits.
It's a given that parents should support and encourage their kids in academics but do you think it's OK for a parent to do a child's homework for them?