Parental awareness of childrens homework, motivation and preferences

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Most parents care for their children and want to be involved in all aspects of their development including homework activities. Most parents structure home life and create a home en­vironment that influences how children do homework. In a study on parent involvement with children's schooling, about half of the parents reported daily involvement with homework. Parental involvement in homework is not an unadulterated bless­ing. It can be a double-edged sword, either positive in its influence or destructive and damaging to academic achievement and attitudes and a source of conflict between parents and children. One reason why parental involvement may contribute negatively is that parents may not be sufficiently aware of children's preferences for conditions under which they prefer to do their homework.  Parents often felt ill-prepared about homework tasks by limitations in knowledge and competing de­mands for their time and energy. One strategy that could help parents prepare to assist children in doing their homework is to be cognizant of their children's preferred homework style and homework behavior. Once parents are aware of them, they can help children by accommodating home environment to match their children's preferred way of doing homework.

Moreover, a higher level of parental awareness of child's homework preferences was associated with a child having both higher achievement and more positive attitudes toward homework.  Hong, Milgram, and Perkins (1995) compared the level of parental awareness between Korean and U.S. parents. Korean parents reported higher levels of awareness of their children's homework motivation and preference and understood some components of their children's prefer­ences that are highly important in determining the efficacy of homework behavior. For example, Korean parents understood a child's need for appropriate lighting, an aspect of the learning environment that parents can easily adjust for children. The effects of parental understanding on the attitude toward homework and on homework achievement of children were also exam­ined.

In both studies it was found that parents, as a group, had a rela­tively accurate understanding of the conditions under which their children prefer to do their homework. Moreover, children who shared with their parent an understanding of their preferences for learning at home, had a more positive attitude toward homework than those who did not.  Understanding by par­ents of their children's homework preferences might result in a more positive attitude toward homework. On the other hand, it is one thing for a parent to understand the child's preferences and quite another to accommodate it and allow the child to do homework that way. For ex­ample, a parent might understand that the child prefers to do homework while sprawled on the floor, with music playing, but adamantly refuses to allow this to occur. Perhaps in Hong Kong, parents were both aware of their children's homework preferences and allowed them to do their assignments that way; or many Chinese students already do their home­work in the way their parents prefer them to do.
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