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HOMEWORK.  It drives kids and parents crazy.  One could also argue if it is even worthwhile in improving your child’s overall learning. But most schools will give homework so we are stuck with it.

Some kids just don’t want to do it and if asked whether or not they have homework, they will say NO and get a zero or low grade.  So the question is “does the parent find out what homework the child has and make them do it?”   Some would say let them fail and that will show them they need to do it.   I do not believe that.  You do not teach them to keep clean and have good hygiene by letting them go dirty and not bathe.  You make them bathe and that becomes a habit for life.  So I feel the parent should find out if the child has homework and make sure they do it.  Then that teaches them if they have things in life that they need to do…. Then get it done. 

I do not think the parent should go over their homework and correct mistakes.  (I think I was guilty of that when young). Then that is the parent’s A and not the child’s B or C.  The parent does not go into their class and correct their test papers to artificially increase their grade.  So I feel the parent should not correct the homework but just make sure it was done and completed.  If however the child missed almost all the homework, then the child may not understand how to do the homework.  Then the parent can “reteach” the lesson and show them how to do it.  Or the parent can make up extra papers for them to complete in order to make sure the child understands the lesson (Oh boy does that upset them…!  Do it right the first time or you get more work.  Yeow!)  Teach your child ways to memorize things… by making flash cards, lists, repeating over and over, etc.  And also the parent should encourage them to do their best and not just a minimal effort so it is enough to get a barely passing grade.

Have a home atmosphere where they can do their homework with minimal distractions.  Yes turn the TV, cell phones, and ipads OFF!  Record your programs for later.  I’m sure you parents have stuff you need to work on or need to read.

I thought I was a tough Dad but I had one parent who turned off the sound of the TV and turned on closed captions.  Everyone’s reading improved.  You also might have a house rule that so many minutes of reading earns you so many minutes of TV or screen time.  Have them get a good night’s sleep to help their school performance.  Have a bed time even though teens are not that sleepy.  And their cell phones go in a charger in the parent’s bedroom…. yes they have been found at 2AM under their covers texting. Keeping the total screen time down helps.  Most authorities recommend 2 hours a day when most kids are having 6 or more hours a day of screen time.  That should vary with the child and their performance in school and the type of programs. 

I know some of you will disagree with my views and that is OK.  We all raise our children differently.  It is just my opinion.  Thanks for listening.

Roger Knapp MD