Why is it Important to do Homework?

I asked my parents the same question, why is it important to do homework? After all, I always pass the tests, and it's unfair for them to send us home with work after spending a long day at school. Homework in public schools is unfair! Now it's our turn as effective parents to answer the question, and frankly, I don't have a good answer, except that doing your homework shows that you can follow directions and complete tasks on your own, and yes, grown ups do have to take their work home with them sometimes from the office. So when your kids whine about that, you have the answer. Homework is a fact of life.

The best way to get your child to do their homework is to tell them that you realize that it isn't the fairest way to spend the evening, but that it is just part of their job. The parent's job is to go to work and the kid's job is to go to school and that's how the family works. If you act like it is a chore that must be accomplished, kids will usually rebel, so let them know that is part of what has to be done. You can also find something they like as a reward for completing their homework, too.

Forcing them to do their homework isn't productive, there has to be a payoff. You have a payoff for completing your day at the office, twice a month you get a paycheck. If you think of it in those terms it will be easier to inspire your kids to complete assignments. They need to have a payoff. In fact, when you think about it, everything we do has some sort of payoff; why should completing homework be any different.

But how to figure the payoff? Smart parents know that threatening doesn't work, nor does taking away something for not completing homework. This is called negative reinforcement and it only causes rebellion. Think of how you were as a kid…

So there are a few things you can do to make homework more bearable. The first thing is to set up homework as part of the coming home from school routine. The school day isn't over until the homework is complete, so provide a quiet space for your child with no distractions and let them know that as soon as they come home they need to do their homework. It’s non-negotiable.

The worst thing you can do is stand over them. If they ask for help, great. If they don't want help, leave them alone. If you are concerned that the homework isn't getting done, talk to your child's teacher and find out the homework expectations, and then compare that to the amount of work your child has to do. Listen to any concerns your child has and try to help, but if they are at all competent they should be able to figure out the assignment with only a little help. If they are truly having trouble, discuss the situation with their teacher.

Why is it important to do homework? Because it's part of learning how to be an adult, like it or not. By following a few suggestions you can help your child learn to like it, or at the very least tolerate it.