Question of the Day

Do you stay calm, cool and collected while helping your child with homework?

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16 Responses to Question of the Day

  1. SKL says:

    Well, I don’t really think I ought to be helping with homework for the most part. But I could see it happening. It doesn’t bug me when the child is honestly trying to work something out. I remember once when my kid sister asked me for help with her third-grade homework. Normally, in the unusual case that she asked for help, I’d simply ask the question a different way and she’d use her own logic to figure it out. But one day, she was just completely frustrated. She had to do a word search and she just couldn’t see the words, and she was working herself into a tizzy. So I showed her a trick which helped, and she was so relieved and thankful. In cases like that, I don’t lose my cool.

    But what does / will bug me is when the kid is being irresponsible and leaning on the parent to make sure the work gets done. My 3-year-olds have recently started getting homework (I know, weird) and I swore I would not force them or do it “for” them. I set up a routine within which they were to do it. After a couple of weeks of this, one of my daughters decided she’d rather be doing something else, and it really got on my nerves, and I sent her to her room. Then I thought, this is just ridiculous. I went and got her and told her, “I don’t ever want to argue with you about homework again. Homework is YOUR responsibility. I will help you get started, but then if you don’t do it, your teacher will see that you didn’t care about your homework and didn’t do a good job.” That seems to have worked for now.

    As a former education student, literacy advocate/volunteer, and armchair education reformer, I am aware of many studies that show that homework for young kids is worthless at best. However, studies are full of bias (global warming, anyone?), so common sense must prevail. If my kids’ teacher is assigning it and the other kids are doing it, then I have to weigh the benefits of XX more “free” minutes per night versus developing an arguably good habit and reinforcing obedience to the teacher. I think I’ve found a middle ground whereon I can hopefully provide mature guidance. However, I can foresee myself needing to make many adjustments – logistically and mentally – over the years.

  2. Joy says:

    I’m kind of like SKL. I only got irritated with Jason and Toby when they wouldn’t just sit and do it. The dinking around drove me nuts. Other than just being around for questions and something obvious that they weren’t getting, I tried staying out of it. I just tried to make sure an effort was being made to get it done. I didn’t check every problem to make sure it was right. If they got some wrong, they got them wrong but I really wasn’t a parent who did her kids homework. The only thing I really helped with were the great big projects.

  3. mssc54 says:

    You had to bring THAT up didn’t ya?!

    I don’t mind helping with the homework. Really I don’t. The thing that bugs me the most is our five year old’s kindergarten homework.

    Yesterday’s homework assignment:

    “Make valentine’s cards for each student in your class. Due on the 12th.”


    I mean it’s one thing to teach the kids to write and be creative but c’mon. Do we have to teach five year old children that if you love someone you have to give them something?!

    • Laura says:

      Now, Mssc… you know we can’t leave anyone out! It will hurt their feelings!

      We have a similar policy at our school… IF your child is going to do Valentines, he must do one card for every child in the class so nobody is left out.

      Likewise, with birthday parties… if you are not inviting ALL the children in the class, he is not allowed to pass out the invitations in school. He must do it before or after school hours, and outside of the school.

    • SKL says:

      LOL, I was somewhat dismayed when I learned my 3-year-olds had to do valentines too! There are only 12 in their class, but still.

      I don’t like to do things that are completely meaningless, so I made a plan that would have the kids doing as much of the work as possible. It was spread over three sittings over 2 days, but it worked out. I could just refuse to do it I guess, but I figured the kids would get a kick out of it, so I played along.

      If this isn’t an incentive to force the kids to learn to write (legibly), I don’t know what is!

  4. Laura says:

    Josh gets one worksheet, usually two-sided, per week for homework. It usually comes home on Monday, and is due on either Thursday or Friday. At this point, we’ve designated Tuesday as Homework Day, so when he gets home from school that day, he changes his clothes, grabs a snack, and then it’s HW time. And the battle begins.

    Ok, not so much a battle, but the dinking. Good word, Joy… dinking around. It gets frustrating, because I know that it’s just his way of being in control. It wasn’t HIS idea to do the homework, so HE’S not gonna do it!!! 20 minutes later, suddenly it’s his idea, and it gets done in like, five minutes. Seriously.

    Anyway, I’ve taken an SKL-ish tack, and yesterday I wrote a sticky note that said, “Dear ‘Josh’s Teacher’: Josh has decided not to do his homework this week, and understands that he will receive a failing grade for this assignment. ~Laura”

    He sat and did his work ASAP.

    As for helping… I sit at the table with him, reading a book, working on the computer, or I’m in the kitchen nearby. If he requests help… he’s working right now on learning to spell, so we sound out words together… I will find a way to help without giving the answer. Otherwise, it’s just reminders… “No Scribbling!!!” “Don’t cut THRU the picture!!” “NO!!! Just DAB the glue stick! Don’t use the WHOLE THING!!!”


    • Joy says:

      I don’t know about the “boy” thing Laura. There are plenty of knit-wit girls too.

      • SKL says:

        I know my kids are younger, but I pretty much let them screw up if they choose to. I encourage them to finish the page and make sure they know how to think through it, but if they want to be silly, again, I just tell them their teacher will view that as not caring to do a good job. My youngest (who is actually the more capable on these things) will occasionally scribble or whatever just because she’s in that kind of mood. But she is getting better about that as she realizes her teacher does look at every page of her work.

        They were getting 4-6 worksheets per week during January. Now the teacher says she’s been asked to cut down on the paper (hooray), but I’d come to like the homework routine we established, so I give them stuff myself if she doesn’t. Like practicing writing their names. It seems there is less of a battle if we automatically get on it right after we get home from school each day. I give them their work and go start the dinner, so I don’t “hover.” Feels right to me for now.

        • Joy says:

          I used to make up worksheets for Jason. He was famous for saying he didn’t have any homework and I went to conferences one year and found out he was missing assignments in everything. I was furious with him. So I told him if he didn’t have homework then I’d make him up something to do in the “homework” time slot. He started bringing it home them seeing he had to sit there anyway.

  5. Sue says:

    I try, I really do, but most of the time I get so irritated it’s best I just walk away! And it’s like Joy said, it’s the dinking around that drives me nuts! The whining, the “I don’t know what to do” (open your eyes and read it!).

    It also doesn’t help that my daughter is completely opposite of the way I was as a student so there is a learning curve for me. She has fallen into the habit of not even bringing her homework home until the teacher “reminds” her that she has 10 pages in reading that must be done and 20 pages in math. Yes, those situations really happened and not long ago so you can probably imagine my response. She’s a 4th grader BTW and like Laura’s Josh, once decides to do it can get it done in short order. So, now in addition to her planner that she already uses, she also has a small note pad on her desk that she is to write down each assignment and check off whether it’s done or not so she remembers to grab her stuff at the end of the day. We’ll see if I can break her nasty habit!

    • SKL says:

      I am pretty disorganized by nature. And my mom didn’t believe in “being involved” in kids’ homework. I’m pretty sure the only reason I “usually” turned my homework in was because the teachers could (and did) paddle me if I didn’t. And if they paddled me, they sent home a note so I’d get some more from my parents at home. So obviously, they didn’t need kiddy planners and such in those days, LOL, so it’s also a learning process for me.

  6. Just a Mom says:

    I am very good at staying calm, cool and collected during homework time. Please don’t throw anything at me, but I help my kids with their homework. I have been known in the years past to “help” with a book report or two. Does anybody remember the Cosby episode where Mr. Huxtable helps Rudy with a paper and the teacher calls him in for a meeting about it.
    {hanging my head down low} That is me. I have gotten better this year at just being there to maybe ask the question in a different way or something like that. I even went in to my first parent teacher conference this year and when the teacher said she was proud of my youngest daughters grade on a book report I beamed ear to ear and said, “And I didn’t even help one bit!” The teacher said “Yeah I can tell!”

  7. Ellen says:

    I loved every story above. I did get ticked of with my sons when they said, no homework, and later that semester, lots of assignments were F’s. I was not like that, so it was hard to understand their laziness. I helped now and then, but never gave the answers. Now, I hear my stepson (15) saying, when he is asked if he has homework, Ehhhhhh, I think I do not have any……Then, I just know he has. And at late Sunday evening, he suddenly remembers he has homework!! Inside me, I cannot stand that.

  8. Nikki says:

    I very rarely need to help him. He normally uses his free time in school to do his homework or he does it on the bus. I do look over it. The only problem now really is that when he reads he isn’t paying attention to it. If it’s a book he likes he will but not his text books. It’s his compression that ‘s a little lacking right now. Now I have him write a small paragraph on what he just read. We’ll see if that helps.

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