How to get off the 'homework police' beat
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[JULY 29, 2005]
Q: When my daughter
was in elementary school, I constantly nagged her to do her homework. Now
that she's older, I'd like to stop being the "homework police." How can I
get her to be more responsible?
A. Parents can be their own worst enemies when getting
children to do homework. As long as you're nagging, the
responsibility for homework is yours. And nagging can backfire. Your
daughter might become angry and not do her homework. Or this might
be her way to get your attention.
Here are some ways to help your
daughter be more responsible for her learning:
Put your daughter in control. Let
her decide when, where and how she completes assignments. Have
her choose a set time to do homework every day, whether it's
right after school or after dinner. Responsible students study
every day. When their teachers assign no homework, these
students "assign themselves" review work.
Help her set learning goals for
herself. Make sure they're realistic -- like turning in a book
report on time or raising a grade from a C to a B. Talk about
how to accomplish the goals. Make sure she knows how to get the
resources and help she needs.
Help your daughter get organized.
One of the best ways to help children be responsible and keep
track of school assignments is to use an assignment book or
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Show that you value school by
asking questions about what your daughter is learning. Don't
just ask, "How much homework do you have?" or "Is your homework
Don't let your daughter "off the
hook." Let her suffer the consequences when she doesn't do
what's necessary. Make it clear that you expect her to complete
her homework, and you can reward her with a fun activity if she
finishes her homework with time to spare. But if she doesn't
finish her work, let her get that zero from the teacher.
- Build your daughter's expectations for increased
independence. The quicker she demonstrates responsibility in
doing her homework, the sooner you'll be able to give her more
control in other areas.
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
Children" is a free syndicated column from the Parent Institute.