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Let Kids Handle Their Homework

At a parent-teacher meet, sever-year-old Myra’s parents were shocked with her low grades. Her class teacher asked her parents if Myra was devoting enough time for her homework and explained, “Homework is understanding what was taught in the class. Homework helps a kid grasp the basics and fully understand a subject. When parents start helping, the children usually do not apply their knowledge to the subject.” Parents in India often believe in finishing or helping their child complete their homework. But this help can at times prove detrimental to your kids learning.

Even first-graders and kindergarten children want to be independent. “I can do everything myself” is a common notion. But because he is new to a school environment and teachers, doing homework could be difficult for him initially. However, the key lies in trusting him with his capabilities and helping him get comfortable with his new role – of a student.

Reports suggest that when a kid is asked to show his homework by his parents, he feels a lack of support and confidence. The message he receives is – “Mom doesn’t trust me. Dad thinks that I won’t be able to do the work myself.” Parents, on the other hand, interpret their part as – “My child is not alone, am there to make him do his best. So let me help him!”. And thus begins the homework help, that continues for many years.

Follow these tips

Make it a habit to offer assistance so that your child knows you are there for help. But help him only when the need arises. The following tips demonstrate how to lend the right support.

1. Explain to your child that you trust him to work independently, but tell him, “If you get stuck, you can ask me.”

2. Offer him a result check: “If you want, I will look at your homework later.”

3. Praise the interim results. This motivates an insecure child.

4. Always ask how he has derived at a certain solution: “How have you calculated this sum?” Or: “Why do you think this is the answer?”

5. Present a fresh approach to the subject if your child does not know what to do.

6. Give specific instructions if your child is on the wrong track. At times while the answer might be correct, the formula can be wrong. Or divide tasks into sub-tasks.

7. Pull back, if you feel that your child can now go on his/her own.

8. Make sure that your mode of teaching or line of instructions is in line with what he’s taught in school. This avoids confusion and better your child’s learning process.

9. Give him proper breaks, as and when required. Such as, avoid difficult lessons after a long illness. Take him on slowly and steadily.

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