time…the mention of the word brings about a remarkable transformation.
Parent and child turn bitter enemies. Hostility hums in the air, as
well as a sense of imprisonment. The student feels harassed, overwhelmed
by the burden of studies. The mother feels stressed out by the responsibility
of having to aid her child's learning. The fact that we leave in challenging
times, when cut-throat competition is the name of the game, doesn't
help matters. Let's face it…homework has never made anyone happy.
So what is a parent to do?
checklist for parents
- Provide a quiet, well-lit space, away from distractions and with
all the right study materials -- paper, pens and pencils, books, a
dictionary, a desk, etc.
- Try to find a separate space for each of your children, or schedule
a specific 'quiet time' for homework in designated spaces.
- Create a regular schedule, allowing for adequate study and free
- Limit TV time, and do not allow it during homework.
- Each day your children should preview the assignments that they
have to do and get the tough tasks out of the way first. They should
write down the order in which they will do assignments.
- When possible, be available to answer questions. Try doing a problem
or two together, then watch as the child tries the next one.
- Avoid simply giving an answer. Instead, ask questions that let your
child see the problem in smaller, sequential steps.
- Provide your kids with a notebook for writing down assignments.
When they're finished, compare the homework and the notebook to make
sure everything is done.
- Review completed and graded assignments. Discuss errors to be sure
your child understands the material.
- Share any concerns with your children's teachers about the homework
assigned. Be sure to let them know if your children are having difficulty
or are unable to do most of it by themselves.
these points make great theories, which, if actually followed, would
make for superb grades and satisfied parents, but reality is never
that simple. Read on…
students had their way…
Students should not spend more than 90 minutes per night. The time
should be budgeted in the following manner:
-15 minutes looking for assignment
-11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment
-23 minutes explaining to parents why the teacher is mean and just
does not like children
-8 minutes in the bathroom
-10 minutes getting a snack
-7 minutes checking the TV Guide
-6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the homework
-10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom to do the
these are of course tips downloaded from various websites, one giving
you genuine ideas to tackle homework situations (as we are referring
it) and the other one is a slice out of real life. Easy way outs are
our all-time favourites. No matter how desperate the situation turns
out to be, it's tips in the latter scenario that always bail the kid
I'll be with you in two and half minutes time," it's the usual
bargain you hear your seven-year-olds or 15-year-olds scream out while
mummy on the other hand has pressed the panic button and is chewing
on her manicured nails.
the story begins this 30 seconds plea stretches to minutes and hours
unless that show of Pokémon or Spiderman is over. With teenagers
who are more independent and understand what the importance of homework
is, and know well the outcome of the mother's wrath, this dilly-dally
takes new heights. Discussing home assignments with friends over the
phone, reading Stephen King from inside the Chemistry lab copy, listening
to indi pop while fighting with a trigonometry problem and so many
more but with seven-year-olds it's a totally different ball game.
no-longer-toddlers (yet ever the babies of the house), have no understanding
of why you must sit to do homework at 4p.m. when school was just over.
The cricket match with the boy next door or riding bikes are the things
of the moment, not sums correction or learning spellings or reading
for upcoming science review work.
begins the war. Kids this age are too small to be scolded for homework
or else they would develop a fear for the work and would totally reject
it and at the same time big enough to do regular homework as schools
and their classes demand. Somehow, they seem to know it. "Mommy,
I need to go to the washroom…" How many times have you heard
that during a single homework session? Their beguiling smiles speak
of innocence, and even though you're not fooled by it, what can you
do but give in?
no use turning to their fathers either. Either he is too busy to be
bothered, or he is easily manipulated by the children's clever negotiating
skills. "Ahha, just ten more minutes of television won't hurt,"
they invariably end up saying.
me alone! I can do it myself!"
As your child has matured over the years, how many times have you
heard this declaration of independence? Sometimes, it's music to your
ears. Other times, it's an exasperating example of inexperience coupled
with bravado. Why don't we hear this when it comes to homework?
your child complains about homework, think about that idea of independence.
Remember that homework is a contract between teachers and children--parents
aren't part of the deal. Think of yourself as a coach, standing on
the sidelines. Let your player take responsibility and carry the ball.
Be available for support, but let your child complete the task at
hand from start to finish. The hard work will be theirs alone -- but
so will the satisfaction of achievement.
homework is sometimes dull, or too easy, or too difficult. That doesn't
mean that it shouldn't be taken seriously. Homework often means drill
and reinforcement, which is often time-consuming. More important than
length, however, is the quality of time and attention homework gets.
Fifty minutes flopped on the bed with the stereo blasting doesn't
the end no matter what the experts say about leaving your kid to tackle
their own 'situation' mothers should always be in charge and never
let go too much, so that whatever excuse the child comes up with you
have a counter reply ready. At least school years are really important
and no conscious mother should lax or allow their kids to lax during
Raffat Binte Rashid
Photo: Zahidul I Khan, MODEL : Urmi, Nafisa,
Numaya and Salman