Monday, September 10, 2012

Why Your Student May Not Like Homework


Why-not-like-homework-Raleigh-Durham-Apex-CaryWhy Your Student May Not Like Homework

Posted by Jennifer Benoit

Homework can be a burden to many students.  Helping them to understand the motivation behind homework and their motivations are helpful.  However, homework can also be a chore or cause stress for other reasons.  Read below about how homework can be a motivating or demotivating.


1.  Confusion – many students may be missing holes in their learning because of illness, comprehension issues, a stressful time in their lives, or even poor teaching.  Because of this, they are confused by the current homework and the current concepts.  Getting help both in school by teachers and out of school by a tutor can be the best solution to this issue.  Another good reason for confusion is that the homework does not match the concepts covered in class.  In this case, the teacher is assigning homework without teaching it ahead of time.  Therefore, students are generally right to be confused.  This should seldom happen and the teacher should be notified (preferably by the student) if this happens.


2.  Wrong Level – This happens more in the upper grades than the lower grades, but many students are on an aggressive track when the speed of the course may be too aggressive.  This happens often with honors students because there is the mis-assumption that students who are capable in one honors class should go in an honors “track.”  That is ­not necessarily true.  If you or your student feels he should move to a different level, do so after trying tutoring, getting extra help, and talking with the school.  Many times, the math classes are setting students up for college so be sure that you are not giving up opportunities that your student can use in the future.


3.  New school and/or New teachers – When school first starts in any grade, students have a tough time with the new “level” of homework.  This can be de-motivating and stressful for everyone, but eventually things calm down and students and parents adjust to the new homework.  There are a few levels where students no longer are able to just quickly go through their homework.  Usually this is around 3rd or 4th grade, the beginning of middle school, and the beginning of high school.  The elementary grade reason is because students now have more writing assignments at night.  In middle school, they have more assignments from different teachers, and in high school, they have multiple teachers and unfamiliar subject areas.  Something to keep in mind at the start of the school year.


4.  Worry or Inviting Failure – An outlook on homework can be very negative when there is a personality trait more inclined towards worry or failure.  Sometimes the attitude of the student is the biggest boulder in the way of success.  In this case, discussing the attitude and worry by addressing some solutions or even talking to a guidance counselor may help.  Although it is natural to worry and feel like there are moments of failure, if you see your child worrying or has a bleak outlook often, talk to your pediatrician or guidance counselor.


5.  Lack of Goals – Again, this is with older students often.  When they are unsure what their future holds, or what they “want to do when they grow up,” they can see no reason for homework.  Discussing the future and the fact that this homework/class can open doors of opportunity to them is critical, but let them have some say in the final decision of certain classes.  For example, after taking Latin for three years, I was facing a fourth year of complete translation.  As a future teacher, I did not see how this fourth year would help, so I talked with the guidance counselor and eventually the principal to discuss using the time to take a business and typing course.  The interesting end to the story is that both subjects served me well.  Typing is critical to anyone’s success these days and I was hired for my first full time teaching job because I knew Latin and could teach it.  You never know what subjects you may use in the future, but talk with your child about goals and if they are very opposed to a class or subject, discuss why and consider exchanging the class for a different one is possible.


6.  Outside Influence – We can’t always pick our children’s friends, but from the very beginning, we can help our children understand that friends can influence behavior.  If you have a student who doesn’t do homework because her friends don’t, rethink those friendships with your child and how they are determining your child’s future.  Friends should not have that much power.  Talk to your child about starting a study group or finding a way to enjoy friends, but not letting them influence their future in a negative way.


7.  Lack of Parent/School Communication – Parents want the best for their children and sometimes things can get very busy.  When parents assume that children are “set” for homework and the grades are looking OK for the time, they become a little more relaxed and sometimes homework time gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.  As a parent, you don’t have to sit with your child every night, but you do have to know a few things and be on top of their grades.  Know what their homework is if you see some grades slipping and know how to see their grades online if that is possible.  Communicate with teachers promptly when there is an issue and be sure to let the teacher know how he or she can communicate with you promptly.  Creating a closed circle where no communication is lost is critical.  Also, knowing the homework policies and how grades are calculated (late assignments, class participation, etc), is essential to being able to communicate with the teacher.  Be as informed as you can be in case there is an issue.

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