Your third-grader never seems to have any homework. The 12-year-old intends to do his ''later,'' after a very important TV show. And if you check the high-school sophomore, you'll discover she's solving those algebra problems while listening to rock music or talking on the telephone.
Should parents get involved in homework? If so, to what extent?
Homework is essentially a matter between teacher and child, a means by which the students develop self-reliance, learning to work on their own and to take responsibility for their work. Although parents can certainly give a bit of help on special assignments, they defeat this purpose if they regularly insert themselves into the learning process, sitting alongside children every evening, checking each paper or doing research.
Instead, their obligation is to organize homes in a way that will make it easier for youngsters to do their work. By providing the proper atmosphere and structure, parents can at least get their children started. Much of the rest is up to them.
Here are a few tips that may help:
* Each day, set aside a definite time period for homework. Children feel secure with routine and are less likely to balk at study time if it is as predictable as meals or baths. Although some childen don't mind doing their homework right after school, most seem to need some physical activity and socializing at these hours, accepting study time more happily if it is scheduled after dinner. Whatever time is chosen, make sure it becomes a priority.