Parents do, kids see
Your child’s progress has a lot to do with your choices.
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I watched a young mother, frustrated with her son’s inability to understand simple mathematical concepts. Because of the mother’s harsh tone the boy looked agitated and had lost all interest in completing his homework, tears had started invading his eyes.

As I watched, my heart going out to the young boy, I wondered how the pair would complete the homework.   

Her patience reaching breaking point, the mother decided to do the unthinkable - writing down the correct answers for the boy to copy into his homework book! Sure, he would get all the answers correct but without understanding any of the concepts.

Trying to help, I pointed out to the mother that she was not helping her son by spoon-feeding him mathematical answers without helping him understand the concepts. The mother asked me to mind my own business, citing that I did not have any experience in dealing with a slow learner.

That boy grew into a young adult and he did not get far with his education, not because he had a learning disability but because his mother taught him to give up easily and to take self-defeating shortcuts that inevitably shipwrecked his education.

Making homework work

I have noticed that when parents take an active interest in their children’s education the children tend to perform better at school. These parents help their children come up with a study schedule at home and they monitor how much television their children watch.

Such parents not only help their children with their homework but also review the child’s previous assignments and see how the child fared. Attending school events and making appointments with the child teacher are important ways of monitoring the child’s school performance.  

The parents who show an active interest in their children’s education do not assume that sending their child to a good school will guarantee success. They follow up and constantly review their child’s progress with the help of their child’s school authorities.

The parents’ mirror

There are four adults, siblings, who are avid readers. When they were growing up, I was always surprised to see them reading thick novels, which I was too scared to read because of their sheer size. It was not difficult to find out where these siblings inherited that reading culture. Both their parents were avid readers too and their home was filled with books. It was a common to sight for the young children to sit in front of the television whilst reading a book.  Because of the reading culture instilled into the children, all four of them sailed through university and are successful in their chosen fields.

I have also observed that parents’ view of their personal education may influence how their young ones view school. In one family, a couple earned their first degrees when they were in their late 40s.  On many a night they had to burn the midnight candle. The couple’s resilience and hard work rubbed off on to their children who also became successful in their studies.  

Another couple who decided to further their education when their children were in their early teens. Because this couple was disorganised they would make false starts and procrastinate on assignments in their chosen courses.

It is not surprising that this couple’s children adopted the same casual attitude towards education. Children inherit their attitudes towards education from their parents.

What is your attitude to your child's homework?

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