Homework: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out

The kids’ school gave each family one of these books back at the start of the school year, and I’ve been meaning to read my copy for months now.  Finally got it done.  I don’t know why it took me so long, given the  extraordinarily simple language, short, snappy, well-titled sections, and quick chapter overviews.

I guess I just don’t like non-fiction, especially of the self-help variety. And this book doesn’t manage to be very entertaining or interesting.

I’m not saying it’s a bad book.  The advice is fine.  (Work on what you can change directly–your attitudes and parenting style–rather than what you can’t–your child)  There are a one or two minor points I disagree with (Dr. McNerney doesn’t want parents to check homework for accuracy and make kids redo mistakes because he thinks teachers want to see the mistakes kids are making–I think that teachers can get this from places other than homework, and that it is invaluable for children to correct their own mistakes, particularly in math and the editing side of writing.) However, for the most part, the advice given is either helpful or unobjectionable. It’s not going to change my life, but it has helped me remember that unless my children are being defiant, we’ll all do better if I consult or encourage rather than boss them.

I’m not sure that’s enough of an insight to warrant a whole book.  Maybe if I were having more trouble with my kids and homework, I’d find this more helpful.  But maybe the book, short and simple though it is, could stand to be shorter and simpler yet.  It would make a fine pamphlet.

A pamphlet I might have read the day I got it.