"Are you helping the child in doing her homework?" enquired my daughter's teacher in Parents-Teachers' Meet.
"Well..umm… Yes, we do… " I replied, a little confused.
"We mean, who?" she questioned further.
"Sometimes I, sometimes her father," I answered, confident of being aware parents.
"We request you not to help her in doing the homework," said the teacher humbly.
"But she doesn't know all the things, and her spellings also go wrong so many times," I justified.
"That's OK! We want to get a clear picture of how much the child knows and what spellings go wrong for her so that we can change our strategies and work accordingly with the child."
This was a huge surprise for me, but I was simultaneously happy upon this response from the teachers from my daughter's school.
Yes!!! The school was ready to work with my daughter and provide all support to make her independent. And most schools do. We parents need to know where to draw a margin in providing extra help which might do more harm than good.
How much help is good enough?
Homework is given to a child to develop the habit of routine, self-discipline, responsibility and good study habits. Let us know how much help should be provided and where we need to restrict ourselves.
- Set a routine - Right from the very beginning set a regular routine for doing the homework. Set the time when the child is fresh and is not hungry. Setting a well-lit place is important. Distractions should be removed. It is not OK if on one side the TV is on and on the other you expect the child to finish his writing work.
- Self-Study - The educative videos available on different websites are a good way of inculcating the habit of understanding a concept by child's own efforts. Guide in searching for the right place on the internet and then step back. The goal is to make him independent of doing his work.
- Be interested - Take an interest in your child's work. Take it seriously, right from the beginning even when it is very simple. Children often grow up with the same attitude as their parents.
- Signs of frustration - Avoid being over ambitious and watch out for signs of tiredness in the child. If you see the child is getting frustrated in doing his work, he might need help from you at regular intervals.
- Perfection is best avoided - I have seen parents fretting over the imperfect work of their child. Many parents erase the original work done by the child and redraw it in a better way, before showing it to the guests. Parents look for praise, but they seldom realize that this act of theirs sends a wrong signal to the child. He starts believing he is incapable of doing any work correctly. Let the child make mistakes. He will improve gradually as he grows.
Every parent wishes that his child should learn everything very easily and should be a topper in class, but growing up a self-disciplined child is more important than providing the complete work right from an early age. If a child gets into the pattern of getting help constantly he might become lazy and ignore his work.