By Jodie Lynn
My nine-year-old son just started fourth grade. The teacher has asked parents not to check homework. Since this has been a very important part of his life up to this point, why all of a sudden is it a bad thing to do? Don't too many errors in assignments create frustration in children?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Depending on your son and how much help he really needs, do it anyway. This is a new teacher who does not know your child or what he personally needs, at least at this point. If you just all of a sudden shy away from his homework assignments, he will definitely make mistakes and become frustrated. He is at an age where parental support and attention is critical. Do what you think will benefit your son. - W. W. in New York City, NY
The teacher is most likely trying to encourage her fourth grade students to become more independent and responsible. She probably wants them to learn from their mistakes in class the next day rather than having parents help them by checking the answers, correcting them and getting each one right. One of the main reasons for this new independence is to get students better prepared for the fifth grade where, in many schools, the kids have more than a couple of teachers and sometimes as many as five. If your son is allowed to assume more of the responsibility for his grades now, he will be much better organized and better equipped to think on his own and follow through with the more difficult assignments in the upcoming year. There is no reason why you can't be around for him to ask a question about something, just don't check it, correct it or do it for him. He may very well become frustrated in the beginning. However, more towards the middle of the year, and certainly by the end of the school year, you will be amazed at how grownup he has become.
CAN YOU HELP?
My 11-year-old son has been bullied since kindergarten. He just started fifth grade and is now the biggest boy in the class. School has been in session for only one week and I've already gotten a call from the assistant principal saying that he is now the bully. How is the best way to handle a child who has so much anger in him from previous years of stress, frustration and being ridiculed and who now only wants to get back at the people who made him feel this way for years?
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