By: Danica Sombolinggi

We have a first-time middle schooler in our family and I must be honest, we were concerned. Countless hours were spent in 5thgrade re-learning math concepts and basic English literature. We knew we had a bright boy but we couldn’t tell if it was a motivation issue or something else. I had spent all summer long preparing myself for 6th-grade math, literature, science; the list goes on! After the first week of school, I was not surprised to hear that there had not been any homework. But after the second week past, something had to be up. Was he lying or avoiding something? We HAD to find out answers! So, when the parent teacher meet and greet rolled around– we had a myriad of questions.

Turns out, that was the day our lives had changed. Okay, maybe I’m overexaggerating but we found out something interesting. Our school district was not allowed to give out more than 10 minutes of homework per night. Now, there is an age-old discussion surrounding whether the use of homework is effective. However, being that both my husband and I associate 90% of school memories with homework—we really don’t know any better. I was nervous, I wanted to see how our kiddo was going to succeed without the constant repetition. That is until we started having discussions with him on how things were going in school. Every day, after he arrived home from school we asked him to write down what he had learned and we discussed how confident he felt about each topic. When he needed further explanation, my husband or myself would elaborate on said topic. We also asked him to read every night for at least an hour. Honestly, we saw a different side of him. He seemed more confident and he seemed to enjoy going to school. We really thought this system was going to work for us. And then, the mid-quarter progress reports came along. AND HE DID IT! We all did it! When we work together to see our children succeed, we succeed; homework or no homework.

There are a few things I thought I could also pass down to other parents, I know this method will not yield the same results for everyone but here are some tips that worked for us:

  • Patience,
  • More Patience,
  • Be in contact with their Teachers,
  • Have open discussions with your student,
  • Praise when its necessary,
  • Praise when its unnecessary,
  • Talk with your student about their interests in school and outside of school,
  • Find ways to get them active – being active is an important role in their brain power; and
  • Finally, more patience!