• In a 2000 study by the University of Michigan of 2818 students 12 and younger spent 13 ½ hours a week watching TV to 2 ¼ hours studying.
  • A 1999 government study found only 35% of high school seniors studies an hour or more a night.  This is down  from 40% in 1984.
  • In 2002 UCLA found that 76% of 282, 549 freshman at 437 colleges that as high school seniors they had spent 5 hours or more a week socializing, but only 33% spent as much time studying. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 10-1-03)

Homework is a student’s responsibility from the very first assignment through college and beyond.  The earlier they learn this the better.  Responsibilities are not necessarily our first choice in which to invest our energy, finances… but we do as we are responsible adults.  Homework is an excellent opportunity to help students learn responsibility. 

Homework rules  for the student: (as per John Rosemond)

  • It is the child’s job to see that homework gets done—”if you expect me to treat you responsibly—dates, curfew, driving, sleepovers, mall trips… then I expect responsible behavior from you”—homework is one way to show responsible behavior.
  • It is the student’s decision how it is to get done—music blaring, on their back…homework needs to be done in the child’s room.
  • Homework time will stop (1/2 hr) before bedtime—to relax and get ready for bed WHETHER IT IS DONE OR NOT.
  • When kids need help, they should check their own resources first (Internet, friends, written word…), and then a parent.  A limit of 2 questions per evening from both parents (not 2 each, 2 total) is a good starting point.

Types of parental assistance:

  • proofreading—teaches them not to find their own errors; teaches kids that they do not have to be accurate the first time; mom/dad will bail them out.
  • doing the work for them—sends the message “I do not believe in you.”
  • controlling the time schedule: they will not learn time management; sets up power struggles.
  • correcting errors: encourages dependence; don’t have to be responsible; get credit the next day for work I did not do

Remember: You are the parent, not the teacher.  Parents should not sacrifice their relationship with their child over homework.  Parents should allow their children to experience the consequences at school for being irresponsible re: homework.                                                                                                          

-Richard Wheland, LSW, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Pittsburgh, PA

What are YOUR thoughts about a parent’s role in homework? Share them in the comments section below.

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