Homework is an amazing phenomenon. Teachers may assign extra practice on a concept, but it may be that your child just didn’t get his work quite finished. It may have been a difficult assignment for him, he may have been talking with his buddies during study time, or maybe just a bit of daydreaming. At any rate, the assignment must come home.
Parents can support their child’s learning by offering a place and a routine for homework. Perhaps after dinner, the kitchen table is cleared, the homework comes out, and the video games go off. If one child has homework and the other doesn’t, reading a book is expected. Parents stay close by to monitor in case help is needed, but do not do the homework for the child. Once the assignment is completed, it is the child’s responsibility to get it to school and turn it in.
As parents, we can help our children learn techniques and strategies to be successful in school. The classroom teacher is teaching these skills as well. But no matter how much information or great skills the child has learned, it is still his responsibility to learn. Believe in your child! He is more capable than you know!
Borrowing an anecdote from an experienced elementary teacher, I will share a story.
It had been a busy learning time the day before in this second grade classroom. Children needed extra practice with the reading assignment. After a long period of “in-class” work time, the teacher reminded all of the children they would turn in this assignment first thing in the morning. Those who did not turn it in would get a zero.
The next morning came around. One by one, these capable children turned in their assignments, met with words of encouragement from the teacher. One student didn’t have his work. “I finished it, Teacher, but my mom didn’t put it in my backpack.” The teacher kindly but matter-of-factly stated, “Please tell your mom she got a zero.”
As we consider the teacher’s words, this is not just an off-hand remark. Let’s look carefully at what she is saying to this second grader:
- You are a capable and successful student.
- You are responsible for your own learning.
- Completing your assignment is only one part of the job. You must learn to organize yourself and get assignments turned in. (It’s not mom’s job.)
Mom and Dad, remember that you have already completed the second grade. It’s now your child’s turn to show how very successful he can be! Give him the opportunity to show you!