As a kid I hated homework. I’d woken up at 7am, got to school for 8:45 and then was there until 3:30pm. I had had enough of school and school work for one day. I’d get in the door, put my bag down… And then immediately pick it up again. Why? I’ve got homework that needs to be done, some of it for tomorrow.
I’m sure the pain is felt all over the nation every day by many. However, schools assign it for a reason so I guess it just needs to be done and schoolchildren just have to get on with it.
If you have any problems, kids have been known to do one of three things:
- Firstly, many go and seek the help of their parents. After all, getting help from someone who is always there can be a great boost to their marks and achievement. Of course, the media has been rife with stories that some parents can’t help fully but I think even a little guidance can make a big difference.
- Of course, there is the second bracket of kids. I was one of them. This is the group who sit and struggle through it and give it a go. Anything they can’t do, they leave. When it comes to class they get some fairly average marks but nothing spectacular. Why do that? Mainly because we don’t want to feel bad about asking for help – it makes some feel uncomfortable. This was, in fact, something I did for many years.
- The final group are for those who craftily use some excuses as to why they didn’t do their homework. We’ve debated the best here on Superprof, though I don’t condone their use!
As you can see, we’ve got a pretty good range of people here. Clearly, the most proactive group are going to be those who seek some help. They can get some help, learn from their difficulties and then improve as a result.
Parents could be one of those people, right?
Apparently things aren’t as they seem.
The Telegraph reported recently that in a recent survey, 1 parent in 6 admitted to doing all the homework for their children. This was for parents who had children aged between 5 and 15, so going right up from their first year of infant school to half-way through their GCSEs.Some of the other points to take away from the survey included…
- In 2/3rds of cases, the parents were happy to help with the homework.
- 10% of parents said that it helped reduce stress in the household if they did it themselves.
- Around 25% said that they had to stop themselves from doing all of the exercises.
- It’s not like the parents needed a lot of encouragement – 70% said that their kids were happy for them to do it and a 1/3rd of kids just left them to it.
So for all of the encouragement your parents give you to get on with your work, it appears that some parents seem to go straight to the root of problem… and do it for you.
But why do they do it?
Well, the report added that 40% of parents feel good when their kids get good marks on projects, hence the motivation to do it themselves. 1/3rd also experience a bit of competition between parents to see their child get good marks.
One of the interesting things that was also mentioned was that 5% of parents did it to avoid an argument with the other parent…
I find all of this a rather surprising set of findings. I knew some parents liked to help but I never knew that they would go as far as doing it all. I remember getting some help at times but I can’t imagine my Dad sat there for hours doing it for me in its entirety.
It was also interesting to note that some parents were having to force themselves to stop – it reminds me of comedian Jack Dee once explaining how he got hooked on it and found himself doing it all the time.
Ultimately this is a very difficult topic because it affects a lot of people.
Say you got the homework spot on. Your child can walk into the class and get a good mark, maybe impress the teacher. The trouble is, they’re not going to learn anything from the experience and your teacher will probably get a false view of what’s going on. It could lead to a surprise later on in the year!
And of course, there is the issue if you make a glaring error and you get caught out… It would be unfair to blame it on your kid but at the same time it’s very difficult to own up and admit you were doing it for them! Of course, you could deny it but then isn’t that encouraging your children to be dishonest? Perhaps not the right message to be sending out…
Suddenly, you’ve a complex issue but with a simple answer nonetheless. My view is that you should help and be supportive but without taking over. Let them make the odd mistake and learn from it. Be there to give them a hand when they need it but don’t do it all for them. They need to make their own successes.
By all means, check through it and make sure it’s right – but at the same time take the time to explain what went wrong if it did somewhere.
For me, I understand that there could be a pressure on parents to see their kids do well but it shouldn’t be a case of succeeding for them. In the long run it will do more harm than good.