Taking an active part in the education of our children is one of our biggest responsibilities. The home, after all, is our child’s first classroom, and what he or she learns from us and the environment we provide really matters. Sometimes, however, some parents take too much responsibility for their child’s education, and I admit I’m a bit guilty when it comes to that. When we parents get too involved with the education of our children, we are essentially taking the responsibility away from them, and that will severely affect their own sense of self-determination, which is very essential to a child’s performance.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you should back off when it comes to the education of your child. You still have to get involved, but do not interfere with your child’s education. Here are some ways to do just that.
1. Build intellectual curiosity at a very young age
A home where reading, discussions and other forms of intellectual exercise are the norm is an environment you’d want your child to grow up in. Even if a child isn’t old enough to go to school, the sight and sound of people around him or her doing knowledge work gives them the long-lasting impression that working is an enjoyable thing. By the time they go to school, they will have that sense of responsibility and motivation to learn without being prodded by their parents all the time.
2. Let kids do homework by themselves
This is the one thing that I was a bit guilty of. In his first few years in school, when my son came home with homework that I thought was just a little too difficult for him, I took over. The same is true when he refuses to do his homework, like most kids his age typically do. That was very wrong, to say the least. If we let kids do homework by themselves, we are essentially teaching them a big lesson in self-responsibility. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to totally leave them to their own devices when you let kids do homework by themselves. You should at least be there to guide and motivate them, especially when they are struggling. Ask questions, make examples or do anything that would give those young brains the spark they need to go do the homework.
3. Let them experience the consequences of not doing homework
As mentioned previously, it is common for kids to not like homework. When they refuse to do their homework despite your best efforts to motivate and guide them, then leave them be and let them experience the consequences of not doing homework. When they go to class the following day without homework to hand in, any teacher worth his or her salt will certainly come up with consequences of not doing homework. Whatever the teacher does, there’s a good chance that your kid will start doing his or homework after that.
4. Praise the effort, not the child
Parents who get too involved tend to heap too much praise on their children when they get some schoolwork done. According to a study, telling your children that they’re so clever or brilliant or talented is a terrible thing to do. For one, they will tend to rest on their laurels and become less motivated to put the required effort into their work. For another, being told they’re bright creates a fear of failure in them, and makes them afraid to take on challenging stuff because they’re worried they might look bad if they don’t come up to scratch. If you are going to motivate your kids through praise, make sure you praise the effort instead. This way, you are encouraging your child to try and do their best, regardless of the final result.
Always remember that your role is to help, not interfere with your child’s education. Should they have difficulties with their homework, employ techniques that will help them think things through. Never ever rescue them by doing the homework yourself. You certainly won’t be doing your kids any favors in that regard if you keep on taking up the cudgels for them.