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Encouraging Homework Autonomy

If you would rather not take on, or would like to relinquish, the role of “homework police” and your child’s school has a homework portal, you are set. By the time our children entered 6th grade, we set the parent portal preferences so that we were only notified if our kids missed assignments.

Here’s what you tell your child. “You are in charge of your homework. Yes, see us if you need help or advice on something. But we aren’t looking over your shoulder anymore. You get to do it when you want. You can check your own work, still bringing it to us if you aren’t sure on something. You’re free from our nagging—as long as we don’t get notifications from the parent portal. If things aren’t turned in or if your grades start to suffer, we’ll know right away. And then we take over again.”

Define “take over” for your family, but at our house it meant that homework had to be
started no later than 30 minutes after they arrived home from school. And, they had to
tell us when things were due as well as show us that they’d recorded assignments in their

Parents who try this are usually amazed at how fast their children become responsible,
motivated by the luxury of autonomy. It’s the kind of autonomy they’ll desperately need
in all-too-few years when they head off to college. Establishing it now means less worry
later, a great incentive for parents!

Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is