Single Mom Alert: How to Stay on Top of Your Kids and Their Homework

By John Bishop

kidshomeworkQ: I hate homework with my son. How can I eliminate our nightly homework tug-of-war over homework? — Carole L., Laguna Beach, CA 

A: Students are not excited about homework because they are bombarded with other options that seem far more exciting? Let’s face it – homework is no more exciting today than when we were kids. It was tough for us to do our homework and we did not have nearly as many distractions as today’s students.

Their world includes instant communication, muti-tasking, cell phones, exciting video games, texting and social-networking. Homework is competing for your child’s attention against some tough competition.

Some students think homework is a waste of time. Others understand the intrinsic value of homework and take responsibility for doing it correctly and handing it in on time. However, the majority of students are somewhere in between these extremes.

The students that do their homework without a nightly battle view their education differently. They understand that for a couple of hours school work is the priority and then they can do something else. They understand that homework teaches them where their strengths are and where they need to spend more attention.

For most students the problem may not be the homework, but in how they look at it. In the “good old days” we did our homework because it was expected and because there were far fewer options for our time. Don’t compete head-on with today’s distractions, try a different tactic.

To compete with the distractions parents must get more buy-in on the importance of homework. Your job won’t be easy, but perhaps this list can help.

10 Benefits of Homework

1. Homework teaches students about time management.
2. Homework teaches students how to setting priorities.
3. Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons are being understood by their students.
4. Homework teaches students how to problem solve.
5. Homework gives students another opportunity to review the class material.
6. Homework gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school.
7. Homework teaches students that they may have to do things – even when they don’t want to.
8. Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.
9. Homework teaches students how to work independently.
10. Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.

School and homework teach students important life lessons that they will use as an adult. For example: It teaches them how to read and comprehend information, communicate ideas with others, listen and take notes, remember things, solve problems, how to develop a plan, set priorities and take action. Homework also teaches students how to concentrate, write reports, spend time alone and helps develop their curiosity about new subjects.

Parents are competing with the Internet and instant communications for their child’s attention, and it’s not a fair competition. Simply put, their world moves faster, and in more directions, than our world. Our challenge is to mentor them without lectures, inspire them and show them how take action on their dreams. We must help them learn “the ropes” but understand that they will use those skills differently than we did.

We have to show our children that homework is not boring. It is not a waste of time. There are numerous benefits to doing homework correctly and handing it on time. Students can benefit from the life skills they learn by doing homework and then go back to the instant communications world of high-speed computers, the Internet, cell phones, text messaging, social networking and instant messaging. Homework then becomes a win-win situation for parents and their students.


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Routines and Realities: A Single Dad’s Perspective

Help Your Kids Buckle Down for the New School Year

John Bishop is the Executive Director of Accent On Success® and author of the Goal Setting for Students® book which has recently won three national book awards. Archive of other life skills ideas or for more information, visit: