Thirteen Values You can Teach Through Homework
By Oma Edoja
Are you a parent concerned about passing values on to your
kids? Do you worry that you can't find the time, or don't
know how? You don't need thirty-minute multi-media
presentations! You can do it with homework. In those precious
moments you spend supervising your child's homework, here are
thirteen values you can subtly pass on:
It's their homework, not yours, and it's them being assessed, not you. You'll
help, but they'll do it, sans bribes and sans tantrums!
School rules regarding homework are to be kept; even though
teacher isn't there e.g. "Thou shalt not 'Xerox' thy
friend's homework, but shalt do thine own." In other words,
no cheating. They might get away with it at first, but the
teacher is smart enough to catch on soon enough. Besides, they
learn from doing their own work, and it helps the teacher find
out where they need help.
Shoddy work won't do. They've got to pay proper attention
and be thorough (it's parents' job to ensure this).
Whatever's worth doing is worth doing well.
Homework must be done, and handed in on time. Punctuality is a
sign of self-respect, and respect for others. It shows how much
In other words, self-control. Work comes before pleasure, so
homework comes before TV/ Barbie/Play Station etc. The aim is to
avoid forgetting it, rushing it later or doing shoddy work at
the last minute.
Neat handwriting, proper arrangement of facts, careful handling
of materials, stapling papers together, numbering pages etc.
Work is easier when done orderly and the results are better
appreciated. Order, or the lack of it, tells the kind of person
you are. Orderly work earns you respect.
You read right! You reap what you sow - good grades come from
hard work, and following homework rules. Poor grades come from
doing the opposite. Don't do it at all and you'll be
penalized. And no, I won't make excuses for you to the
Your kids might not be A-students, but it's important that
they work to the best of their ability. All my kids are
left-handed so they all started off writing a few letters
backwards. While I know that our pet isn't a "bog", and we
don't sleep in a "ded", I did appreciate their efforts,
and desire to complete assignments promptly and orderly. At four
years of age that was acceptable. The focus here is on doing
The more they practice, the better they get. You know they did
the same thing yesterday (and the day before!), but today
they're doing it better! Even mum, dad and the teacher learn
to do things better everyday. It's important to always get
better than you were yesterday. Never stop growing; you can
never know it all.
10) Work ethic
This deals with their beliefs about work (so don't let them
hear you moan about Monday morning!). Work is a good thing,
whether it's homework or any other kind. Work gets things
done, and you feel good with the results. If you don't work,
nothing gets done. When people don't do their work it creates
problems for them, and others. So, homework is good for you. And
parents, we've got to make this fun!
There's always so much to do, and so little time. So we've
got to choose what's important now, and leave the rest till
later. The choices we make affect our lives, and we have to live
with their consequences e.g. if you choose to watch TV/ go to a
party/ play with a friend rather than doing homework, you will
be penalized at school, get poor grades (if this is a habit) and
not learn much. Kids must learn to think of the consequences of
12) Handling criticism
We learn from our mistakes. Don't take it personally when the
teacher marks your work wrong or asks you to repeat it. It's
all for your good.
13) Team spirit
Ask for help when you need it. Study with friends. No one is an
island, no one knows everything. Asking for help isn't a sign
of weakness but strength – it shows you can assess your
situation, and know what to do in a crisis.
These are just thirteen values you can teach at homework time
(of course, not all at once!). And now that you've got the
hang of it, I believe you can find some more! The key is to make
the whole experience fun – private "you-and-me" time. No
judging, just nudging.
No doubt you will pass on those values and create many
pleasant memories in the process.
Oma Edoja is a motivational speaker, writer, infopreneur and former
award-winning schoolteacher. She is also "mom" to three kids!
Oma enjoys running inspirational programs for kids and teens, and
motivational workshops for adults. Visit her web logs:
(for parenting insights and a few laughs!) and
(for motivation and inspiration).