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Allow your children to do their own homework

Mar 30, 2021

By Mumtaz Moosa Saley


As a parent, one of my biggest challenges is homework and assignments. Between work and helping the kids with homework, it has been an uphill battle that parents never get warned about. I will admit my methods may not always work, but there is some method in my madness.

Some days it is easier to do the work yourself, it is just easier and faster. At other times, it is easier to pay a person to write a speech for your kid, this way you are guaranteed good marks and without the fuss and tears or the effort.

This past weekend my son had an assignment that got our creative juices flowing, but it was also a lot of hard work and effort. Not every Grade 5 child would be able to tackle the job themselves. As we proceeded with the task we came up with a plan to create a realistic human skeleton and very soon Steve came into being. It took an entire village to build him!

My son had his grandfather cut the wood and glue the structure together, he then needed to come up with an idea on how can we make it look as human as possible.

Two days in, tired and exhausted, we were missing the skull. At this stage, I had no choice but to ask for help, and so I reached out to the community for assistance. Soon a lady came forward with a solution for a skull.

The bright side was that we got to spend valuable time with each other, we collaborated as we created the most amazing project and my kid got to live out his dream to build items out of waste material. It was not easy but if I had paid someone to do it, I would have missed the experience shared with my son, husband and, father-in-law.  As we worked to come up with a viable solution whilst instilling some worthy lessons for my son.

A year ago I spoke to a teacher about the importance of children learning to manage their tasks. Children learn the skills of time management, delegation, and communication. So, remember, it may be easy to get someone else to do your child’s work for them to make it easy on you, but you may be short-changing them in the process. So, ignore the eyeball rolling and the endless tirade of “I hate you” knowing that you’re doing them a solid.

Children need to be allowed to do their best whether it is their homework, assignments and speeches, without the need to be perfect. Rather, teach them to learn to focus, completes a task to their best ability and if they fail or get things wrong, that they can try again. It also allows us to have them learn how to handle rejection.

I am not being judgemental or telling you that my suggestions are right. Many parents work long, and sometimes late hours, and you do what is best for you and your children. However, let us commit to at least one assignment a year when we get involved and when I mean involved I mean listening to the idea and helping the child problem-solve a viable solution to a task that needs doing. Allow your child to process why what is being taught is important.

I am now proud to say I know how to build a skeleton and I shall add that to my CV.


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