The first term/semester of the 2004/2005 academic year will soon begin in Ghana, USA, Canada and elsewhere. For most students school begins this August or early September. Many, if not all parents/wardens would like to see their child/ward succeed at the end of the academic year and get promoted to the next grade or graduate with honors. Teachers share the same dreams for their students. To ensure that our dreams come true we must take note of all that go in to constitute the assessment of the child/student academic work. Unlike our school days of yesteryears, final written tests/examinations ONLY do not determine the success or otherwise of students during the academic year.
The academic assessment of the student is not solely based on the student?s performance in quizzes and tests. Homework plays a major role in determining the academic assessment teachers do on the child throughout the academic year. It is therefore very imperative to support our children?s efforts to do homework.
Many students would achieve higher academic levels if they would take their homework serious. And many students would take their homework serious if parents would support their efforts to do homework. As an educator and a teacher for over 20 years experience tells me that parents and guardians who care about their children?s education do not neglect their responsibility of supporting their children?s efforts to do homework.
As a parent, do you ask your child about his/her homework at the end of the day? Do you welcome questions on how to do the homework? Do you at sometimes sit with your child through his/her homework? Do you create a favorable environment at home for your child to do homework? Perhaps this short discourse might help you support your child?s efforts to do homework.
School At Home:
First and foremost, it is important to set apart a ?special place? in the house for your child to do homework. The location must be away from the bedroom where the child might be tempted to lye on the bed and fall asleep in course of doing homework. It should also not be sited close to other places of detractions in the house. For example, not close to the T.V. set or the telephone.
Equip the place with a well-lighted desk or table, pencils, paper, and any other books or equipment-such as rulers, calculators, reference or text books and so on-that the child may need. Thus, provide a quiet, regular, well-lit working area for your child?s homework.
Also, set aside a special time each day for doing homework. Make yourself available during that time to answer questions that might arise. Help your child organize all his/her homework assignments. Let your child see you do your own homework-paying bills, reading your devotional book, or making grocery list!
I remember a scenario that a friend used to advise some parents who thought their child was always hiding his homework from them. The friend advised those parents to show much greater interest in their child?s homework. ?Ask for your child?s homework each day?, he said. ?Then sit with him and ask him to teach you how to do the work he has brought home from school. If you find out that he is unable to explain how to do the work to you then it is a sign that he needs help to do it,? he advised. Show interest and concern!
However, don?t do your child?s homework for him/her. Remember, homework should create a bond between school and home. It is meant to enhance on a daily basis the lessons taught at school, and to promote good work and study habits.
Watch These Things:
Although it is gratifying to have your child present perfect homework papers, the perfection should be the outcome of your child?s own exploration and efforts-NOT YOUR OWN!
Read to your child and with your child. Have your child read to you and ask questions about what she/he reads. Give books for presents. And have a wide variety of things to read in your house. Don?t burden your child with the responsibility of taking care of his/her younger siblings after school at the expense of doing homework. It is not fair to your child if you make him/her take your responsibility as a parent while you don?t show any in his/her school and homework.
I understand many parents, especially Ghanaians abroad, have to work to put food on the table for their families and can?t be at home at all times. However, working around the clock in order to make more money is not the best thing to do for your family. Make time for your children and their education. That?s their future!
It might be argued that most parents are not abreast with the school curriculum of their children and are therefore not in the best position to help their children with homework, that notwithstanding parents could still encourage and monitor their children?s efforts to do homework. Constant communication with your child?s teacher on assignments given is one of the means to find out how best you could assist your child to do homework.
You could then take your child to the public library if necessary for the help he/she needs to complete homework.
Ask for your child?s school agenda/planner to see which homework is assigned him/her at the end of each school day. Seek for help for your child in textbooks or from school boards? web sites. You may also check to see if there is a telephone homework service in your area to make use of in assisting your child do homework.
Don?t forget to praise your child for job well done when the work is completed. We have to encourage our children to succeed at school and assisting them with their homework is one of the ways to go.
Moreover, we need to be positive about school. Let children know how important you think education is. Find time to visit your child?s school.
Teacher of Brookview Middle School, Toronto
Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.