Daddy's Guide - Getting Homework on the Road

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Let’s admit it, homework is a drag. Have you heard anyone say, “Wow, homework! Gee, I can’t wait to get home – after several hours of lessons at school -- so I can dig in to these exciting take-home quizzes and algebraic problems!” We didn’t like homework when we were kids, and we HATED homework when we were in college, so why would we expect our kids to like them? Let’s not delude ourselves – we could not get our children to like homework. So, how do you save your wife from going ballistic anytime she learns that your child did not do his homework?

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Here are some tips to give your child that ‘push’ to complete their homework

Let’s admit it, homework is a drag.  Have you heard anyone say, “Wow, homework!  Gee, I can’t wait to get home – after several hours of lessons at school — so I can dig in to these exciting take-home quizzes and algebraic problems!”

We didn’t like homework when we were kids, and we HATED homework when we were in college, so why would we expect our kids to like them?  Let’s not delude ourselves – we could not get our children to like homework.  So, how do you save your wife from going ballistic anytime she learns that your child did not do his homework?

Don’t focus on homework

You wouldn’t know when your kid has homework to work on.  And you’re not even sure if he is telling the truth if he answers, “I don’t have homework,” when you ask him.  What’s worse is that since it’s a “We have no homework” day, he won’t even open his books or notes to study.  So forget giving so much importance on homework.  Instead…

Set a regular schedule for study times

Establish a regular study schedule that must be strictly followed.  The schedule could be any time before or after dinner (or whatever works for you).  Stick with this routine.  Study time means a regular time for studying (reviewing the day’s lessons, or advanced reading).  A regular study time means your kid has to sit down and study his lessons — whether he has an assignment or not.  A regular study time means never having to say, “we have no exam tomorrow” so he will not study.  With or without a scheduled quiz or exam, a study time must be followed.

When a regular (daily) study routine is established, you no longer have to worry if he’s doing his homework or not.

Give him his own study area

It does not matter whether the designated study area is the family dining table or a fancy study table from one of those glossy Ikea catalogues.  What is important is that the child gets his peaceful corner to help him concentrate on the task.  While at it, everyone at home must be made to understand that they have to cooperate and try not to disturb him.

No TV, No distractions

Your child would feel he is missing out on what the rest of the family is enjoying if the rest of you are playing, laughing, having fun, watching TV, while he’s doing something he doesn’t like doing (his homework).  This should be a family commitment.  Your child’s study time could also be your time to work on your spreadsheet, catch up on your own readings, etc.  Being surrounded by people who are either reading, writing, or simply working on the computer will help put your child in the “study mode.”

Guide him without doing his work for him

It is easy for you to be tempted to simply do his homework for him to save him and everyone else the trouble –  don’t. You can ask what lies ahead, and ask him which subjects or areas he finds most difficult that he needs help with.  You can tutor him every now and then but not so much that he becomes dependent on you.  My wife, with her eagerness to help our son, made this mistake.  The result was that the kid has gotten used to being assisted he could no longer study without his mom beside him.

And most important of all:

Impart in your child the value of “Studying hard vs. Being intelligent”

One of the main reasons a child may not feel so compelled to study is his belief that he is intelligent.  While it is easy for us parents to praise our kids for their intelligence, try to resist the temptation.  While there are advantages to a child’s awareness of his intelligence, I can see more disadvantages (and that is another story).

I would strongly recommend that you instill in your child’s mind the value of diligence and studiousness.  When he gets good grades, praise him for working so hard.  He may be intelligent but if he does not regularly study his lessons – doesn’t do his homework – he is bound to fail.

The trick here is to create a routine and a system that your child can easily follow and observe as a regular part of his daily activities.

Here’s a question:  How did you train your child to regularly brush his teeth?  Answer: Regularly.

Train your child to study regularly.  Doing his homework becomes just a natural part of it.