Time To Do Your Homework?

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Are you doing enough homework? In this article for Nightcourses.com, Mark Godfrey examines the arguments for parents to spend time with school-going children.

Readers’ warning: this is a very hot topic.  There are no black and white terms, only grey areas and lots of opposing opinions.  Every parent will have an opinion on whether they are spending enough time with their school-going children, whether they should spend more or whether they can afford any time in the first place!  School children of all ages, but especially those facing life-deciding exams, deserve and need the time and support of their parents.  Plenty of quality time is better than a little, goes the obvious argument, and it’s also better than lots of non-interactive (quality) time. What’s the right idea then? Most parents would obviously like to spend plenty of time teaching, listening to and watching their children.  But what’s the answer for those who must work and feel work won’t allow them any more free time?

The Lay of the Land

The Irish education system sets itself the following duties:  ”the full and harmonious development of the child, with due allowances made for individual differences; the central importance of activity and guided-discovery learning and teaching methods; teaching and learning through an integrated curriculum and through activities related to the child’s environment.” 

That’s what happens in the classroom.  Parents have a legal duty to see that their child receives education and it’s the Department’s duty to provide education that is suitable to the age, ability and any special educational needs of children.

Quality time ideally replaces quantity – that’s the wish of many career parents. The choices of concerned working parents are likely to be well thought out and the best that the circumstances have to offer.  Those with a supportive and adjacent family will be lucky enough to lean on this as a vital help in giving their children the care they deserve.  But if this a convenient opt-out?

Taking the ‘Work’ Out of Homework

Nearly everyone will quickly agree that family care is the best care for children.  Says Rose O’Loughlin, Cork solicitor and mother of three young children,  “I don’t know about other families, but mine and my husband’s simply have no real interest in caring for my kids, or being a part of their lives. This is an awful attitude, but what can be done? If I need childcare they’re not going to help me. I’m lucky to be able to rely upon a terrific day care or a babysitting arrangement – that’s my only choice.  My husband and I both have busy careers so it’s not realistic for us to be at home as often as we’d ideally like to.”

The bigger issue is perhaps the idea that parents don’t make themselves aware of what’s best for their school-going children. Isn’t it more important to encourage society to cope with the needs of single working parents and two-income households? These issues aren’t going to disappear! 

Quality time results from kids being important to those around them. Narcissism, or self-obsession, in society keeps children from being the important priority that they should be. This happens in working, non-working, single and multi-parent households. Children must become parental priorities if they’re to enjoy school and get the chances they deserve.  By making children the most important thing, everything else can be allowed fall into its place of priority.


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