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If you find yourself repeatedly asking, "Is your homework
done?" you may be falling into the "parent-as-student"
trap. The key question to ask is, "Who is the student?"
If we take responsibility for our children's schoolwork, they will rely on us to be responsible for it. We're depriving them of learning responsibility for themselves.
My daughter recently came home and said she had a math test coming up. I asked when she planned on studying. She said, "Later," put the paper away and forgot about it. I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from taking responsibility and reminding her. When the test came around, she failed it. It was difficult not to say, "That's what happens when you don't study. I hope you've learned your lesson!" I wanted her to do the thinking. I sat down with her to look over her papers. I gave her praise for the good grades. When we got to her math test, I asked her how she felt about it. "Not good," was her reply. "Hmmm," I said. "What do you think you're going to do about it?" "Study." "That sounds like a good plan," I said. "Do you know how to do that?" She said she thought so and explained to me how she wanted to do it. And then she did it. She's learning that schoolwork is her responsibility. And the price tag for learning this lesson now is
relatively low. If I don't allow my child to learn about responsibility in
regards to schoolwork, I'm robbing her of learning responsibility for life. When she's thirty, the consequences of not doing her job will be to lose her job. The price tag is higher.
Some students, of course, need more guidance to help them become responsible. It is difficult to do a job without adequate resources. It would be unfair of us to ask our children to be responsible in their studying if they don't have the skills to study and to organize their schoolwork and time. We need to be sure our students have the resources and skills they need to be successful students. Then we need to let them use these skills and receive the rewards for success and the consequences for failure.
--Gina Johnson, Study Smart, Inc.
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