Monday, 22 October 2012

Homework Help - How much is too much and why help at all?

My son is upstairs doing homework - writing a newspaper report on China's One Child policy. He is 13.

He has had a week to prepare and write the piece and has lots of information on what is expected and what he needs to write and include to gain certain grades. I can't remember having to write things like that for my homework when I was 13, but then times have changed. He is in a very bad mood because he hates having to read anything and one of the main tasks for this is retrieving information from various sources.

I have to admit that I have helped him. I pointed him in the right direction as far as web sites are concerned, but he was decidedly bad tempered about the whole thing.



I am torn between feeling sorry for him and just being downright frustrated by his obstinacy. It seems like a pretty interesting task to me and, for goodness sake, he has the whole of the world wide web from which to draw information. When I was at school the most advanced equipment we had was a slide rule. Gathering information meant sitting in a library trawling through dusty, well thumbed reference books...

He doesn't know he's born, does he? Can you imagine his reaction if I told him he had to hand write his essay and then only after he had gleaned all his facts from books which may or may not contain the right info? I find it hard to instil a sense of work ethic, a pride in his work. He wants everything to be done instantly, easily. But life is not like that is it? Achievements to be proud of do not come easily. They take work and sweat and worry.

I ask myself whether I should help at all - whether I should let him sink or swim by himself? Every part of my motherly instincts tell me to help him, but by helping too much I will end up hindering his progress. We have all seen homework projects supposedly done by children when its obvious their parents have spent most of half term crouched over a glue gun and a cardboard box. I am not one of those parents, but equally I want to show him where to look, how to structure, what questions to ask.

Having said that he's lucky I didn't throw the laptop through the window at one point this evening ... So, we are at the stage where he is upstairs doing it by himself and I will read through it when he's finished. I have to be patient. He has to work hard.




11 comments:

White Space said...

You already know the right thing to do. You're not helping him one bit in the long run by helping him with his homework.

The school have set him a task just like a future employer would; they have asked him to undertake a project on his own to prepare him for the real world. Reality is a hard thing for kids when they're not used to it!

I used to have to help around the house & do lots of things my brother didn't. He is 32 and still lives at home...

Eve said...

I helped my kids with their homework...meaning I pointed them to the information they needed and provided them with pens, pencils, paper..that sort of thing. I didn't actually do the work for them. My brother has a son who never did any homework or projects by himself...my brother would build projects for science, etc..and then give his son a tutorial on how the thing worked so it would look like he did it himself...he's 23 now, has never had a job and still lives at home. Helping them is one thing, but doing it for them is a whole other ball of wax! Good luck Sarah!

joy said...

I didn't help mine at all, in fact by the time they were 13 they certainly didn't want me too. The teenage years were a struggle, but we survived. They both went to Uni, one copped out after 18 months and is now working in the NHS, the other is two years into a three year course and having a gap year as he feels fed up to the back teeth with too much studying, but fully intends to go back and get his degree after a break. Just keep as calm as you can and let him sink or swim by his own efforts.

joy said...

actually hoping for some chocolate :-)

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hello! Thanks for your comments! I agree with what you said. I am really keen that they do their own work and learn responsibility.It just drives me mad when they moan about it all!!
Thanks for following my blog Joy! Did you get the chocolate I sent??
Sarah
xxx

White Space said...

Oh, so Joy get's chocolate does she...?!

sarah at secret housewife said...

Did you not get the chocolate I sent you White Space?? Bloody post these days ... xxx

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