M.M. asks from Chicago, IL on December 05, 2008
Letting a Child Do Homework by Himself?
Does anyone has experience of letting their child handle homework himself/herself to improve their grades and study habits?
I have been doing homework with my son and supervising him doing his homework from the beginning of his school years. His a 5th grader now, with good grades, very high scores, very bright and intelligent. However, I am affraid that if I let go his grades will go down because he tends to procrastinate and not really serious about his homework. I have to remind, supervise, sit with him and fight for the homework to be done in the timely manner. Resently I read a suggestion that to help this problem parent has to step back and let the child handle the homework issue himself. Anyone had that experience? Does it work? What if he will get bad grades and will not care? Any teachers know how to handle this situation? Please help.
2 moms found this helpful
K.H. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
Focus on regulating the process -- set up regular time and place for homework. If you school has on-line reports on homework completion, quiz/test scores, you can then monitor his progress in that way, and intervene if he is slipping. Also, you could focus on just reviewing his work every other day, and let him gradually work more independently. Remember, an occasional C on a project is also a learning opportunity.
E.Z. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
I am a fourth grade teacher and have fielded this question so many times from parents of my students. One suggestion I have is that you gradually release responsibility to your son.
Tell him how proud you are of his achievements in school and how much school matters to your family. Then tell him that you feel he is doing so well that you don't need to be "on his case" as much about his work. Make it seem like an honor and a privilege.
Start with a subject he likes and does well in. Tell him that you will only "butt in" on that subject if he asks your for help. Let his teacher know what you are planning! That way, she can give you a heads up right away if he is starting to slip into bad habits.
If your son enjoys the new found independence, add another subject. See how that goes for awhile. Again, shoot his teacher a quick e-mail telling her that you are now adding English or whatever subject to the independent list.
If you believe in extrinsic rewards, he could earn a small reward or privilege to go with his new level of responsibility. Take it slow and expect a few bumps in the road! He'll get there with your help and patience!
1 mom found this helpful
K.G. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
I used to be a teacher. I have similar control issues with my 5th and 4th grade boys. I expect a lot from them. How does your son feel about you helping him with homework? If he wants you to stop, you can bargain with him. Tell him if he keeps his grades up, you will let him continue on his own. I think now is the time to try it while he is still young. Give him the responsibility. Tell his teacher what you are doing and keep in touch with her to find out if he is getting things done. He should have consequences at school, like missing recess, if he doesn't have his homework done. If he doesn't mind the consequences at school, find something at home that he really likes and take that away if he doesn't follow through. Be sure to tell him exactly what is expected of him. RESPONSIBILITY needs to be on him not you. I hope this helps.
1 mom found this helpful
J.S. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
My kids are still little so homework isn't an issue, but I can tell you what my parents did. I was the overachiever type while my brother was the procrastinater type. He always needed supervision for homework. When he started 6th grade, my mom told him he had to start doing his homework on his own. She started by just having a "homework check" time after dinner when we'd show her our work. After a while (I don't remember how long) she started telling him that he didn't have to have his homework checked unless he wanted to. Eventually he started doing it on his own. He would still ask for help sometimes. He also would sometimes ask me to do homework with him (just working side by side) because he didn't like to work alone. I can tell you that he was really proud of himself for doing it on his own and started bringing home graded work to show off to the family which he had never done before.
You might try sitting with him and doing something on your own (reading a book or whatever) at first and distance yourself a little at a time.
Hope that helps!
V.L. answers from Chicago on December 10, 2008
Fifth grade is the ideal time to gnaw at those purse strings re: homework. Let him do it on his own and let him know you'll check his work when he's done if you like. Then if there are errors say something like, "you may want to check the answer or grammar in number 14." for example. It gives him the opportunity to figure it out again on his own, and you've at least nudged him in the right direction.
Of course you'll still need to help with that huge science project from time to time, but the sooner he/she gets on their own, the better they will do in high school.
K.R. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
He needs to work on it himself-he can't be successful if he needs you there pushing him. Doing it on his own gives him a sense of independence and accomplishment---and if he doesn't do it--he learns the consequences. He's in 5th grade...how badly is his academic career going to be damaged by a B?
There's also this-I once asked one of the teachers if I should check the work and help make corrections. She said No! If I do that- she will not know where my child might need extra help.
D.W. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
Most certainly, it is good to let them develop study habits of their own. I homeschool and as there is not much homework, there is work that she does. My suggestion is to set a homework time, get the area ready, put him there to do it with the guideline that you will be checking over it when complete. If he has some slippage in grade, that may be a good lesson. They do, at some point, need to learn to study and do on their own. That is not to say that you can't help him study for a quiz or test, but give him the opportunity to study first on his own. Sounds like he is a pretty bright kid and the more you push and do it with him, the more dependent he becomes on you and really, where are the grades coming from, you or him? You can still keep an eye on things, but just set the rules or guidelines, okay, homework time.set the goal that he needs to do it and once done is free for the evening. Sometimes we do things because we don't want it hanging over our heads, but they have to learn the responsibility of getting it done themselves. So far, setting limits of when work will be done and such has worked for us, taking away all the distractions. I would not schedule it for as soon as he gets home, give him a little break from a long day. God bless! You are a great mom and it is great you take the interest you do!
S.B. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
You have to let him do this himself, but know he may not and his grades might slip while he learns how to put himself in charge of it. But consider this, if you do for him, he will always need someone to push him to succeed. Children don't learn something from another making them, they eventually have to find the motivation internally and part of them doing that is to leave them to their own devices, and unfortunately, sometimes watch them make poor decisions in the process.
While grades are important the actual grade itself serves only one purpose, it opens doors to better colleges. But the process they go through to get those grades is what counts. My oldest son graduated in the top 20 of an academically competitive prep high school after taking all honors and AP classes - he's two semesters away from being a chemical engineer, still in the top of his class. The second was in the top 10 of his public high school class and is pre-med at a highly selective private college that only accepts 540 kids a year out of 11,000 applications. He also remains in the top of his class. But my third is still trying to get it. Very intelligent, definitely able to do more, but he has issues with motivation. He failed his freshman high school year only because he didn't do homework. He's currently in an alternative district program helping him make up the lost credits so he can graduate with the rest of his class on time. My last is like his two oldest brothers, highly motivated and succeeding in the 4th grade. Why three got it and one didn't, I have no idea. But I know I won't do for the third. I did for a long time, all the way through 8th grade while I'd never had to do for his two older brothers. What I finally realized is I would be doing for this child the rest of his life because he hadn't found that place inside of him to do it. I should have let him fail earlier, but it broke my heart to think of him not succeeding. Sometimes we have to let them though.
When baby birds first fly out of the nest the mother flies below them to catch them if they fall. She doesn't flap their wings for them, or fight with them to fly. She lets them do it themselves and watches, always ready to rescue them if they need it. I think we human mothers can learn a lot about teaching our children independence by watching mother birds.
Don't do for your son M., or be the one who is more concerned about him succeeding than he is. Let him get it himself, and you'll find a remarkable man calling himself your son someday. For me, my greatest reward has been meeting those men, and knowing they became who they were on their own because that means no matter what the situation, they have it inside of them to succeed because they've found their success themselves. Though my third is struggling, I have faith he'll find his way too, it's just taking him longer to get there. But he will, and as hard as it is to watch him struggle and just fly below him, I know I have to so he can succeed beyond school, and in life.
Good luck to you!
B.K. answers from Chicago on December 06, 2008
When my daughter was in 5th grade, her teacher told the kids that it was time to start working on homework without Mom and Dad. She explained to them that they needed to begin preparing for middle school and to begin being homework independent. I hated it, at first, because homework was a time during the day where we sat down together and talked. I usually had a book while she did her homework, but I was there. Now, comes grade 5 and she wants me out of the room, unless she had a question... awwww. But is was the best thing for her. She is now a college student at Michigan State and her grades are rockin'... plus, no one ever has to encourage her to do homework... she just does it!