Tuesday, June 9, 2009

School Homework Management

Finally schools have reopened. Mothers who were anxiously waiting for the school to reopen are heaving a sigh of relief and we all know why! But once the school starts the next worry that all parents (read that as mothers) have is the homework that needs to be completed everyday.

I have seen many a mother trying various ways and means to get their children to complete the day to day homework. This is an uphill task. Imagine a four year old child being given 2-3 pages of homework everday which she needs to complete . Added to the woes are the projects the child comes back home with. Finally we all know it is the parents' work which will be assessed and not what the child has done. Many a working parent tells me that it is a tedious task for them to balance between household chores and the kids' homework/project work once they get back home. Infact they say that their job at office is easier than their kids' homework and projects!

How do we as parents then manage and cope with this arduous task of getting our children to complete their homework? Each school has its own set system of curriculum. Some schools give loads of homework while some give very less. But whatever the amount of homework , we as parents need to help the child to complete the homework or the project work on time. It is also important for us parents to make them see the task as 'their own' such that the children feel instinctively responsible for timely completion of homework.

There are a few things which we did as parents which we believe worked for us. The idea was to make the whole process easy for ourselves as well as the child.
1. It is said that a child has enormous amount of appetite for absorbing information. Thus, the child's mind should be made to be engaged in what we call as 'exploring'. It would be a good idea to try and make the child independent while she is doing her homework. It works if one gives precise instructions and allow the child to then complete the homework on her own. Of course, it is required that one is around keeping an eye to ensure that the child does not go overboard wth her independence. :-) For example when the child is small they are asked to write using a four ruled book . It would be a good idea to draw the lines on a slate and guide them to write within the lines with chalk. Later they can be asked to write in their book.

Gradually increase the time that you are away as the child gets older. However always give them the assurance that you are always there when they need help from you.

2. Most of the parents have this common complaint that their child never sits in one place and so they find it difficult to get them to complete their homework. One thing we must remember is that they are small and their attention span will also be very short. The best thing to do would be to ask them to complete four to five lines. Give them a short break and then do the next couple of lines. This might take a longer time but atleast you wil get the work done without too much of a fuss.

However during this break avoiding T.V watching would be advisable as it would be difficult to get them back into the homework mood. Rather talk to them, have some fun time and then ask them to get back to their work. This way they will gradually learn to sit for a longer period of time.

3. Praise the children generously for completing the smallest of target that you set for them. See the glow on their face. Next time they will be doing things on their own. Do not on any account bribe your child with chocolates or promises of buying things if they complete their homework as it will undermine the importance of learning. Praise is the best bribe which we parents have to use right form the beginning. However a word of caution - do not go overboard on your praise - it has to be dished out judiciously.

4. Once the child starts doing her homework on her own, it would be a good practice to check her work once she completes it. Sometimes there might be mistakes and the child might not be willing to accept it. Does not matter. Allow the child to make mistakes as they learn better that way. Things need not be perfect. As parents, we must make the child responsible for her own actions.
These are just a few guidelines that I have given based on my personal experience and from my interactions with other parents. At the end of the day one must remember that each child is unique. Each child has her own way of doing things. Some children might do their work if the mothers are sitting with them while others might like to do it on their own. You as a parent will be the best judge.

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