I have had this conversation with parents so many times. I completely understand where you are coming from. I have done it myself! You see your child and you say, “Do you have your homework done?” Your child responds, “Yeah, I did it already.” Or perhaps they pause and say, “I will do it tomorrow.” Or maybe they say, “I don’t have any.”
You find yourself confused because you get a message from your child’s teacher that states your child is falling behind because they are not doing their homework. Wait! My child is telling me that they have their work done, or they don’t have any homework.
What do you do? You could yell at your child. You could yell at your child’s teacher. You could ignore it and say, it is their problem. Or, you could sit down and have a conversation with both your child and your child’s teacher.
I would recommend a meeting together if it is possible. I recommend staying calm and listening to both your child and your child’s teacher. There could be a variety of issues for this problem.
Your child may not understand that they actually have homework. I have literally had students not understand the word due. They hear “do” and not “due”. So, in their mind, they are thinking, well she said it was “do” tomorrow, so I don’t have homework. I can do it tomorrow! But, I said it was “due” tomorrow. Suddenly, we can see that we have a problem.
Your child may not understand the directions, or they may feel completely overwhelmed with the idea of homework. This may be especially important to note if they are getting a lot of assignments. Your child might just be struggling with organizing.
Your child may not care about the homework. They may not see any reason to do the work.
All of these are responses I have seen either through my own children or with my students. The most important thing to do is to find out what the problem is so it can be addressed.
Coming from the point of view of the teacher, it can really be a struggle when the student doesn’t want to do their homework. When possible, I try to help my students understand the importance of using the idea of homework as practice. I typically fall back on a real world idea of practice. I teach fifth graders, and I realize they don’t drive, but I will use an example of driving to help them understand. I tell them that we can watch our parents or other family members drive the car and we may feel like we know all about driving. But, when it is our turn to get a license and we decide to walk in to our local courthouse to take our test, we may be surprised. Suddenly there are all kinds of rules and there is even a real driving test to take along with the written test. I emphasize that watching my parents drive may have given me the idea of driving, but actually understanding the rules of the road and knowing how to operate the car needs practice. This is the same as the homework that we are expected to do at school. If we don’t practice our skills, it is very difficult to move forward with the next concept.
So, if you are having a problem with your child not doing their homework, try to use an everyday activity to parallel the idea of learning skills as you explain the importance of completing the work.
I would also recommend looking at their executive functioning skills. Simply put, this is their organizational skills. If they are not using some sort of planner or method of keeping track of their homework, this may need some attention. You can support them as you check their planner and talk through what they need to complete.
I hope this is helpful! Work as a team with your child’s teacher or tutor. They will appreciate it. Your child will see that you are all on the same team. Hopefully they will feel supported.
If you need support with your child’s homework, feel free to reach out to me at midwesttutor.com. I am happy to help!