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Solution: Homework without Accountability

by Editorial Team | April 19th, 2013 | Parenting Predicament

quizMy son’s teacher assigns lots of math homework, but never checks it in class. Instead she takes the test questions from the homework. This doesn’t motivate him to do his homework, he’d rather take his chances seeing the questions for the first time on the test. Unfortunately, this isn’t working very well for him. Any ideas?

We spoke with a retired elementary teacher, who offered the following advice:

It seems that your son’s teacher considers homework to be a source of practice. As you’ve seen, the benefit to doing the homework is better grades on the tests. From what I read of your question, since your son isn’t doing homework, he seems to be doing poorly on his tests. Of course, every parent’s idea of poorly varies greatly.

Not knowing intimate details, here’s what I’d suggest. Let your son know that since his teacher doesn’t collect homework, you understand that he does not have to do it. Also, explain to him that homework isn’t just checking a box, it is a way of practicing and understanding a topic better.

Then make an agreement with your son. He does not have to complete homework. However, all of his test grades need to be a B or higher. If he receives a grade lower than a B, he needs to do homework, which will be checked by you. If he can do well on tests without extra practice, then he shouldn’t have to do homework. If he doesn’t do well on tests, explain that practice will help him succeed and must be done.

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