On the Necessity of Parents’ Doing their Children’s Homework.

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As I said in the previous post, rebellion is in the air. A rebellion against the oppression of homework and the tyrannous teachers who spoil the quality of students’ life assigning it. However, while analyzing these vigorous movements, I have realized that here in Italy, as usual, there is an anomaly. In fact, they do not seem to be grown out of the necessity of those “ill-treated” students, as it would be normal to assume, but rather, their parents’. It seems a kind of weird, I know, but it actually explains the nature of the phenomenon and why this generation of parents feels haunted and frustrated about homework habit: THEY do their children’s homework, that is all .

pin3Of course, I cannot but unconditionally sympathize with them, as that was the “duty comes before pleasure and leisure” generation, my generation. Our parents would  have never dreamed of questioning the necessity of homework or openly criticizing teachers and I would have never dreamed of complaining with them about the loads of work to do. Had I tried, their only solution would have taken the form of the reduction of my extra activities, which I didn’t want, of course, therefore ; I tried to organize myself the best I could and in a way or another, I managed to survive. Hence; not only these parents were regularly and unquestionably in the habit of doing their own homework, but  somehow, they feel compelled to do their children’s as well, sparing them the trouble of doing it, but why?

Of course, it cannot be pure masochism, as it would seem at first glance. Therefore; I can only guess that if, after a long, tiring day, those parents are still willing to take books, pens and paper to live their old homework doing nightmare again, their drives must be powerful indeed and from my experience I can single out two of them in particular: fear of failure and lack of time, better known as “let’s find a shortcut”.

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This happens, because  homework is generally considered only as the boring acquisition of notions, but it is not or at least it shouldn’t. Homework, actually, concerns the consolidation of what has been done in class and above all, work organization. Hence; those parents who constantly help their children do/organize their homework, actually, don’t trust them. They don’t let them grow and test their own learning method and besides they might undermine their self-esteem, as the subliminal message given is that without their help they would not be able to reach the goal otherwise. Believe me, this is how it works.

I have witnessed my sister-in-law for years, undergoing all this since first grade. Her constant presence had made the time dedicated to homework odious for my nephew and disappointing for her (and the entire family as well). Year after year, he had learnt to accomplish his duty only to avoid his mother’s pressures and shouts or to please her. Therefore;  homework was something pointless with a lot of drama added every day, which he did only for her mother and not for him. When she could not help him any longer, guess what? He failed, because in all those years he had not learnt how to manage his time, as her mother did it for him and worst af all, he had not developed any effective learning method. He had only learnt notions which were soon forgotten once the minimum goal was achieved.

For what concerns parents’ habit of doing homework as a sort shortcut to finish sooner, this point cannot be understood if we don’t comprehend how  adolescents have changed in time. The life of an average student nowadays is, let me say: busy. Teenagers practice at least one sport three or four times a week plus other extra activities of any kind, spend a lot of time facebooking, whatsapping, playing with video games, hanging out etc., hence; it seems difficult to find any extra, quality time for any additional effort. The point is that their parents are just fine about it, they are happy to see their children “have a life” (I’m employing the words they used in the many letters of complaint) and don’t want this routine to be spoilt,  that’s why they often replace their children in doing their homework.

My dear parents, you’ll be surprised, but I also think that your children need to have a life, all teachers work in order that they might have the best life possible, but we can’t do this without parents’ support. Let’s try to co-operate for once so that WE might have a life, as well. Therefore; stop doing their homework, and help them only if they ask you. Let them  “err“, “fall” and learn from their mistakes so that one day they might “find open before” them” the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on!” (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)

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15 thoughts on “On the Necessity of Parents’ Doing their Children’s Homework.

  1. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    This has been a common topic even in my social circle for our schools! What are your thoughts on the amount of homework kids get? Check out her post! -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

  2. Reblogged this on So Far Left I'm Right and commented:
    I was jaw-drop shocked when I went to school with my fourth grader and his mission project and saw all the mission models that had been made by these students PARENTS. WTF? No adult in their right mind would think these little 9 and 10 year old had built these mission models. So why are they getting extra credit for it?

    I stupidly let my son make his model all on his own out of corrugated cardboard. And he did a brilliant job, imitating his specific mission and building a sheep pen with sheep in it, an element again specific to his mission. But he was so embarrassed when he saw the store-bought kit models that other kids brought to school that he left his own creation in a plastic bag in the corner of the classroom and wouldn’t even display it. (sad mommy tears)

    • First of all, let me thank you so much for dropping by and reblog. When this happens, your role as mother is fundamental. No tears, let him know, how proud you were of what he did and that he played a fair game, this is what really matters ( I would also have a word with the teacher, of course). 🙋

      • Oh yes, I did of course say those things. I did not bring it up with the teacher because it was extra credit anyway. (Or because I’m lazy, take your pic, LOL) Cheers!

  3. Hear hear!! Our job is to prepare our children for the real world and doing everything for them won’t accomplish that by a long shot.They are doing their children a disservice which will haunt them the rest of their lives!!!

      • 😉
        And have you ever heard of the work of Ruby Payne?
        She talks about the need to adjust homework (and discipline) to the particular culture of students
        And she talks really about poverty – the framework of it – and how in some areas the teacher goes to the parent for needed behavior changes and help when it is not effective.

        Payne writes about the cycle of “punish,
        Feed, and then forgive”
        And so say for example – if a student does not do homework and acts up in class – the teacher goes to parent about it and the parent approaches their child – punishes them for what they failed to do and or what they did do…
        Then forgives them
        And then feeds them and sends them back to school…
        But the behavior change is not there.
        I think she goes on to suggest some ideas for the teacher to work directly with he child – but the idea is to “understand” and to work with these very real scenarios….

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