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Thirteen Values You Can Teach Through Homework

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:

1) Responsibility:
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!

2) Integrity:
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.

3) Diligence:
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.

4) Punctuality:
Homework must be done, and handed in on time. Punctuality is a sign of self-respect, and respect for others. It shows how much you care.

5) Discipline:
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.

6) Order:
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.

7) Justice:
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 teacher!

8) Excellence:
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 their best.

9) Self-improvement:
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!

11) Choices:
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 their actions.

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.

Happy homework time!

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: http://theparentingmix.blogspot.com (for parenting insights and a few laughs!) and http://omaslounge.blogspot.com (for motivation and inspiration).

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