All across America each evening this dance is being played out in millions of homes. It’s the “Don’t You Have Homework To Do?….”No I Did It in School” dance.
With this dance the Parent Badgering Factor usually starts around 4:00 in the afternoon and proceeds ahead until someone (almost always the parent, usually the mom) falls asleep from exhaustion.
Upon waking up, a form of the dance kicks back in with the “Hurry Up….Get Out of Bed or You Will Be Late – Panic,” dance, which is then later in the day followed up with the resumption of the Homework dance.
Throughout all of this the anxiety is ringing off of the hook.
Mind you, by and large this anxiety is not being felt by the child. (The child is too busy playing Xbox 360 Live or on Facebook or Instagram looking into the latest friends’ drama to be bothered by such an emotion as anxiety. )
The amount of anxiety and pressure experienced by the parent (usually the mom) could solve the energy crisis if we could learn to harness it.
Purpose of Homework
How many of you who are fueled by all of this anxiety actually remember specific homework assignments? I know I don’t. So what’s the purpose of any of it?
There’s probably an unspoken, hidden agenda to homework. The hidden agenda is that homework is a tool to teach basic responsibility. You know, the usual stuff…meet deadlines, plan, follow through…those sorts of things.
By and large your job with the kids that are not the best at self-managing is to help orient the child, to get him or her on track. Your job is not to fuel the train once it is on the track.
I like to encourage parents to use a 10% involvement ratio. Your 10% involvement is largely there to provide calm, reasonable structure so that he or she is oriented to task and knows what to do and how to get started.
If the work is too hard, it’s inappropriate, pure and simple and the teacher needs to know.
Don’t fuel the train.