I share Dr. Rosemond’s recommendations while emphasizing his
third point and adding a fourth. There is no question that time limits are
important. One cannot learn to manage time without a limit any more than an
individual with budgeting problems learns to budget with an open-ended line of
credit. I would, however, alter Rosemond’s comment, “set a limit on how late
your child can work on homework,” to “set a limit on how long you expect your
child to work on homework.”
The fourth point that I would add is to remember that you,
as the parent, are the head of your home. You don’t want to do the work for the
child, but you also don’t want to allow the school an unlimited license to
assign work beyond what you feel makes sense.
A lot of parental “homework cheating” that goes on these
days is not happening in a vacuum. In the “good old days,” homework
requirements were modest. Over the years, starting with Sputnik, and moving on
in stages matching certain historical events, the burden of homework has
expanded beyond reason, and without consideration that the home is a zone that
belongs to the parents, not to the school. Unfettered license to assign and
assign does not make sense.
In Dr. Rosemond’s classic book, “Ending the Homework Hassle,”
he acknowledges that despite the fact that his system works for many students,
there are still some who don’t respond. For them, he recommends that their
parents and the teachers work together. But if the parents do not have full
authority and the final say, there is a good chance that this conferencing will
fail. For things to change, it is absolutely crucial that parents are respected
as the heads of the homes. When they are not, that’s when many parents feel helpless
and boxed in, and end up doing the work for the student themselves.
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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.