By Elaine Sigal
Homework is the bane of everyone’s existence in a school setting. Teachers are not crazy about assigning it, students do not like receiving it, and parents do not like doing it. What? Parents don’t like doing it?? As a parent, I know how tempting it is to either “help” your child on homework or in some instances to want to just do the homework. As a teacher, I know how foolish it is to do either.
Homework is a necessary evil of school. The day is just not long enough to get everything done and what is accomplished often needs reinforcement. Teachers can tell when parents do the work. Teachers can tell when students work is done but the child still does not understand the material.
There are two main reasons for letting your child do the work:
1 – The teacher and the student need to be sure that material being taught is being comprehended and learned. If a parent does the work, what has the child learned? How can the student or the teacher know what still needs reviewing?
2- Students need to be responsible for their work. When parents work, they accept the responsibility of getting the job done. How will our children learn responsibility if they are not given the opportunity to do so? You might be helping with one night’s work (or in too many instances more than one night’s work) but are you helping your child in the long term?
I agree that some homework is unnecessary and I question the assignments. That means that if a teacher is assigning work that is redundant, punitive and off topic, I encourage you to go to school and speak with the teacher. Now! Don’t wait until after grades are issued. As an English teacher, if I did not assign reading and writing assignments to my students for homework, we would never be able to finish the curriculum, so please think through your complaints. However, if as a parent, you think that your child is burdened with work, talk to the people in charge. No one is served if you do the work yourself. After all, you already graduated!