Who’s responsibility is it to ensure homework is completed?

So just who’s responsibility is it to ensure homework is completed?  This is an interesting question and one that many people, including educators, will tell you that the answer should be that of the student.  The parent’s role should be one of support and guidance if required (if required being the key words – naturally it will be age dependant to a degree too)!

In my work with both upper primary and secondary students this is often an area of discussion I have with both students and parents.  These days many schools have web based school management platforms that allow both students and parents so see what homework and assignments students need to complete.  I have even heard of some schools that actually emailimage of daughter at a desk being watched by her mum at the door the parents the homework that students need to do.  This is where I believe some of the problems around who’s responsibility to ensure homework is completed stem from.

Whilst the communication is a great thing, parents tend to then take on the responsibility as we fear that our children will fall behind, won’t succeed or get the most out of life if they don’t do their homework.  Whilst these are real fears this is where parents become unstuck as a result of knowing what needs to be done and when it is due they often start to nag and put pressure on children to get homework done.  The unfortunate part is that children, particular those in early teen years, don’t react well to this and it can have a negative impact where they will often do the exact opposite of what you are trying to get them to do.

Factors to consider

Consider these 4 important factors as to why the responsibility to ensure homework is completed should be that of the students:

  • key life skills development – research shows that doing homework can help children develop “self directed learning skills” like initiative, independence and confidence.  When completing homework it is important that students ensure they understand what it is they are to do, how much time they should allocate for completing it and then using their time wisely to do so.  These are all great skills for students to learn that will continue to assist them throughout their education and lives.
  • developing independence and feeling in control – as children grow in age and become teenagers it is only natural for them to want to be able to make their own decisions including when to do their homework.  They need to feel like they are in control, can do things by themselves and work to their own timetable.  This can be sometimes hard for parents to deal with though it is important to know when to take a step back rather than following up with your child too often.  I usually recommend to parents to continue to take an interest, be supportive and let your child know you are available to assist if required.
  • being responsible for their own actions – this is another important life skill for children to develop.   They need to learn for themselves, be conscious of making their own decisions and following their own actions.  It is then up to them to deal with any consequences as a result of their actions or inaction as it may be.  For instance if they leave their homework at home I tell parents not to go running it up to the school or if your child doesn’t complete something and gets a detention then that is something they need to do and learn.   If they don’t experience the consequences of their work, whether that means a good grade or a failing one, they are less likely to change the behaviour that’s been making things difficult in the first place.  It can sound harsh but children usually will learn more as a result of dealing with the consequences than if they have everything solved and smoothed over.
  • developing problem solving skills – ideally as parents we’d love our children to be able to solve their own problems, with support that is age appropriate as required.   In order for them to develop these skills parents need to move away from being direction givers all the time.  It is sometimes easier for parents to always step in and solve problems by telling our children what they need to do, where they need to be and what they need to have with them.  Unfortunately though this is only teaching them to follow directions and not being responsible themselves.  Questions to ask instead are what do you need to do; where do you need to be and what do you need?  Let them tell you!  In order to develop good time management skills, which are essential for completing homework and study, it is important to let them both problem solve an to make their own decisions.

image of teenage boy studying or completing homeworkIn essence as a parent if you take on the responsibility for a child’s homework it often doesn’t always allow them the ability to develop these core life skills.  So do you think you can make any necessary changes and support your child to do the same?  It will take away some of the battles you may be having over homework too.

For tips on how to focus and get homework done you might like to read this BLOG for some ideas – click here

If you or your child need any further support please don’t hesitate to get in touch as I can work with them and or you 1:1 – amanda@organisingstudents.com.au or 0409 967 166.

Please note that this blog has been written in a general context and I appreciate that many students may still struggle with what I have suggested above as there are often many different factors at play.  Therefore it is important perhaps for these students that these factors be considered and the necessary support provided to them as required.