Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Comment on a homework advice column

Here's a link to an article by John Rosemond.

Good advice. I want to emphasize the importance of a time limit. I agree that this approach will always be better than the one in which the parent continues to hover, coerce and agonize. I think there will still be kids, at least 10% who have under-the-radar learning disorders and will continue to be deficient in the teacher's eyes since they are simply unable to get enough of the work done. Those kids do need penalty reductions. In my experience, parents who set time limits will inevitably find that their children do more, even if they can't get it all done and teachers (not all, but many) become more flexible with grades when they see the effort coming in. Push come to shove, however, I think parents need to have the final authority in the home and if the child is failing because they cannot get all the work done, they have to have the option to overrule what the teacher decides and insist on a limit in the consequences for homework not done. This can be done gently and cautiously without any desire to challenge the teacher, just a clear understanding that parents are the ones who are heads of their homes. It is certainly better for the parent to be clear, "this is my home," than it is for the parent to be flailing around, hovering too much, and in the end, doing the work for the child.

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Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.

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