I am fortunate that my youngest child who is still in school-sixth grade, wants to get good grades and it is so important to her that the first thing she does when she comes home is grab a snack and start homework without me asking. A couple of my friends think it is so wonderful because they struggle with getting their children-boys to even tell them what they are doing in school much less sit down and do a page of homework.
I feel bad for them and try to give them advice when I am asked, but at the same time we have different family cultures. Their families are very social and are going out or participating in sports all the time with homework as a second activity. I believe because I have been in college- first to obtain my AA and now I am almost done with my Bachelor of Science. I never ask, Do you have homework? I always assume my child does. I always have homework and start on it as soon as I have dinner done. Sometimes I tell my daughter she can watch one of her shows after her homework is done because I still have homework to do and need to concentrate on it. This shows her that no matter if my favorite show is on, homework is more important and I need to get it done first.
I feel that my family culture says homework is first and then you can do something fun. Now my daughter was in cheerleading for years and we had games and practice at least three times a week, but it was just a rule that if homework wasn’t done, you didn’t go to the game. Homework was always done and in fact I think she worked harder at her homework to make sure it was right and she seemed more focused when she had a sport to go to. She just feels now that she has too much homework daily to take on something. She normally goes to church for kids church and I would always let her go to children’s bible study but sometimes she says she just has too much homework to do and has to skip a week. I don’t argue because I want her to go to church, but at the same time, I want her to believe that school is important too.
Sometimes I am told that it is just the difference between girls and boys, but I don’t think that is what it is. I think children become what they see. She sees me doing homework every night and just believes that is what is done. I have two older boys and when they were in school, they were very bright and in advanced classes just as my daughter is. My oldest son was very concerned about his grades and studied all the time. My middle child became bored quickly with the curriculum and ended up getting his GED and going into the Army. Both were very bright and grounded so I don’t believe that there is a big difference between boys and girls doing well in school.
Now is our life perfect when it comes to education? Absolutely not. As much as my daughter wants to get good grades and always have homework turned in early, sometimes she wakes up and just doesn’t want to go to school. I personally think it is anxiety about school because so much pressure is put on younger kids these days to get the best grades for the schools and the state. At least one day a month I have to make her get dressed and get moving. School starts later so she is never late but just getting her up and getting her moving, sometimes can be a big haunting chore. I have to tell her not going is NOT an option. Just like it is my job to go to work every day, her job is school.
Tips that have helped me to help her to succeed is always having a routine. It may seem boring, but home, homework, and time with each other is our evening routine. Sometimes if she has a lot of homework, I don’t go for my evening walk/run because I need to make sure she is focused. She gets good grades, but needs to learn to pick up the pace and focus a little more without reminding. If it is a subject like Math that she may struggle with, then I know I need to stay close by for help or encouragement. We sit at the dining room table to do homework-another routine where nothing can distract us. We do have some white noise of some sort. Usually not music because that seems to distract her, but you have to find how your child learns and use that. My daughter learns visually so we go through a lot of index cards making flash cards out of every subject.
If you feel your child is really trying, but just not getting the grades they are capable of, hire a tutor for a session or two. I had my daughter sit with one of my friends who is a math teacher at another middle school and that was all it took for my daughter to get the confidence to go from a C math student to an A. Even her teacher had told me she knew the material but lacked confidence to finish it. I can’t tell you how one session with another instructor helped her but it magically did.
On Wednesday mornings her school offers free help if you need it and whether she needs it or not, she goes to her regular Math teacher just to go over the weeks lesson.
I think the fact that she knows she can do the work and has to be accountable is the thing that has stuck with her. She doesn’t want to be embarrassed not having her work or having it turn out to be incorrect so she works hard and if I can’t help her, we get the help she needs.
If you are having problems with your child doing homework, I would ask if you have spoken to their teacher first. Teachers are always willing to talk to you about your child but they want to know that you are involved not just wanting the teacher to do all the work. Then I would ask what your routine is at home. What message are you giving your child? The message begins with you.