How much help should parents give their kids with homework?
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I'm surprised at how many parents on this thread don't think parents should get involved with their children's homework. Studies show that parental involvement is the number one indicator of academic success, and beyond volunteering in the classroom, there's no better way to get involved than to be an active part of your child's take-home work.
Helping with homework does not mean doing the work for them, or trying to reteach what the child should have already learned in school. Homework should be review, not material that is new to the student. Parents can help by staying informed, supervising in an interactive way ("What led you to that answer?" "How else could someone answer this question?"), and discussing the work after the child completes it independently. This is an excellent way to demonstrate how schoolwork matters, to share what you know (and what you don't know) about what your child is learning, and to help your child think of new directions and new perspectives on the work.
Simply sequestering your child to do the work and playing the role of kindly warden only makes the work seem like a continuation of the school day. Parents should never, ever do the work FOR their children, but they should always know what that work is, and use it as a foundation for exploring new things. In our house, conversations about homework often lead to googling something we want to learn more about, or brainstorming more ways to solve problems. Just yesterday my 2nd grader brought home a worksheet on homophones. It was far too easy for him and he finished in under a minute. So we spent 15 minutes making a list of all the other homophones we could think of - we stopped when he got to "butt" and "but." It was fun, and it gives me a chance to appreciate what he knows and encourage his love of language and learning.
I'm thinkin' parents should act more as a supervisor: making sure that the homework gets done and being available for assistance in case the child has questions, but the homework should be done by the child. It's the whole, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." In this case it would be more along the lines of, do a child's homework for them one day and you will be doing their homework for a lifetime.
Homework is an outdated concept to begin with - if children work hard all day then they should be able to come home and relax and focus on other skills, exercise, socialize and learn about life beyond the classroom. Sending home homework for the sake of it is not teaching anyone anything so sometimes I will "help" more just to get it over with. If it is a project that is enhancing their learning and encouraging research skills and independent learning skills then I think a parent's job is to simply guide them in the right direction.
Don't even get me started on homework. I am an anti-homework mom. The kids go to school for the majority of the day, it simply isn't right that they come home and do homework. I insist on reading everyday but we don't call it homework because I want the kids to love to read and who loves homework? If they are slacking at school and don't get their work done then, by all means, give it as homework. I'll make sure it gets done and that also they don't slack off at school anymore. Other than that I don't support homework at all. Especially in the elementary years.
Yes, teachers, I'm one of *those*parents.
Talk to his/her teacher first.
My 1st Grader's teacher wants the kids to do homework on their own, so she can see where they are on that skill without her assistance. If we, as parents, see something incorrect, we can say "I see one wrong addition answer" or the like, letting them know there's something they can correct...but not give them the answer.
Homework should be practice for the child for concepts already learned in school. That being said, I have no problem giving guidance and support, but I do not sit side-by-side and go over problem-by-problem. If the material is over my child's head, it's time for a conversation with the teacher.
I also feel strongly that most projects should be done in school, b/c today's parent has a VERY hard time keeping hands-off. I have a close friend that I tease b/c she'll start telling me all about her HIGH SCHOOL daughter's project, and she'll get a twinkle in her eye as she describes it. She just beams with pride as she tells me all "her dtr's" clever ideas. HA! And what happens when these projects are turned in? The students that did the work themselves get downgraded b/c they pale in comparison.
I'm telling you, this is NOT the right approach if we want to produce independent, resourceful young adults out of our schools.
There should be a balance, like all things in life. I would say that allowing your child to try and work things out but having them know you are there for "backup" or support is the way to go. You cannot solve their problems in life, but you can always give them an ear to listen, a firm foundation to grow, and a shoulder to lean on. :)
As little as possible. There is a difference between guiding them and helping them. Children should do it on their own, it's the only way a teacher knows what the child is capable of. That said, teachers should also give homework in an amount that is appropriate for independence. The only thing that helping your child with their homework solves is the parents do the work, this enabling the child.
If your child is having a difficult time with. Concept it is appropriate to reteach it or guide them to the correct solution but parents should never, ever be doing homework for their child.
I think that the parental role with respect to homework is that of a supervisor, guide, service provider & quiz partner. Parents are not designers, engineers, researchers or secretaries
Be aware of what homework needs to be done and make sure that the kids have time & space to complete it.
Supervise computer time to make sure that kids are researching and staying in safe internet spaces (especially when kids are searching out "images" for their projects)
Guide your child with respect to managing her time so that she can complete her assignments before they are due and still have time for play, reading and extracurricular activities.
A GUIDE encourages autonomy: When your child asks what something means, you can give him the answer or guide them to the dictionary where they may find their answer. I favour the latter.
A GUIDE can recommend resources such as Wikipedia, books or trips to the local museum but does not actually do the research.
SERVICE & RESOURCE PROVIDER:
Kids doing a project may need supplies, a lift to to the library or someone to pick up their group partner to work on the project. Picking up supplies, driving and providing a suitable space (and snacks :) ) are all service-providing roles.
While a service provider may provide the scissors & glue, he or she does cut out, draw or make anything for the project.
A quiz partner can dictate words to practice spelling, help practice multiplication tables or ask preparatory questions for an upcoming test. This can be very helpful and is a way to stay active and involved in your child's learning.
Overall, I think it's important to keep in mind that teachers assign projects that kids are capable of doing AT THEIR LEVEL.This means there is no reason to rationalize that little Jordan can't use a chainsaw so Dad has to do it...because the project should NOT require a chainsaw!!!
That said, there are times when there may be an exception and where a little TLC is needed. For example a broken piece is in need of Krazy Glue or a hot glue gun. Mom can help out here as a child should not use Krazy glue and a hot glue gun requires supervision at the very least.
Remember this: Your child's vision and creative expression of it, no matter how beautiful or ugly, needs to be his own. No child can be as proud of an assignment that he knows Mommy did for him as one that he knows he did all by himself.
Homework is about so much more than learning lessons and getting the right answers, it's about learning to research and problem-solve independently. Intervening because you think that what your child is doing is wrong or won't be impressive sends a very clear message to your child that you don't have confidence in her ability. Children learn from their mistakes. Let them make the small ones so they know how to handle the big ones later on.
One more thing: if you're worried about your child competing against other kids whose parents ARE doing the work for them: Don't. I'm very familiar with this issue and you can see the link to my post "Whose Homework is it Anyway?" for further thoughts. I will say this, however: You CAN and you SHOULD remind your child of how proud you are of him for doing this all on his own.
I will re teach them the material. I'll show them how to look stuff up on the computer. I'll answer questions about how to do stuff but I won't do the work for them. Right now we are working on my sons work habits and he's finaly getting the message that procrastiation has consequenses.
I walk my kids to school every morning and that gives me 30 min to talk to them uninterupted. We discuss school, their teachers, how grading works, the future. We also expand on things they have been learning in school and try to bring it into real world application. This morning discusion started with languages. Branched into how languages evolve and somehow ended up on genetics.
I remember the science fair when my eldest daughter was in first grade - she had classmates whose projects incorporated mechanical engines and die-cut wood shapes. My kid had glued some rocks to a piece of cardboard or something, but it was HER work. That really hardened my stance; as I like to say to the girls, "I finished middle school already. It's your turn." I don't know how else kids will learn to be responsible and take ownership of their educational journey, and if they haven't done that by the time they leave for college they're screwed.
That said, I do try to be in a room nearby or to just do a check in as they're doing homework - right now my 5th grader really wants me to check her math homework every day, but I'll only do it after she's done it herself. It's important, because everything I learned in 6th grade math and beyond has vanished into the ether and she's on her own next year...
I think kids should get in the habit of figuring out their homework for themselves at an early age-it creates good habits and reduces dependence as they get older. All too often, I see kids who have obviously completed a project with a lot of parental help. I am not adverse to reviewing homework once it is completed, especially if it is a piece of writing. I will not sit with the kid and look over their shoulders while they are doing it. If they get stuck, I will give them a strategy to overcome whatever it is they are stuck with; this teaches them to think. Once the kid realizes they can figure things out for themselves, they grow more confident with their schoolwork. I will say I read to my kids from the time they are young and encourage reading at an early age. Good readers make good students.
Children should be able to complete homework on their own. I would encourage the child to complete the assignment and always ask that a parent check the work. This helps the child be accountable to take their time and do their best work. If a child needs assistance, parents should provide thought provoking questions that will guide the child to figure out the answer for themselves. A parent's role should be to provide encouragement and accountability. If a child is struggling, they may require more assistance but it does not help them if you do their work for them. Most importantly, be patient and positive. If you get frustrated, they will get frustrated and give up.
Parents should be on stand-by. Most of the homework needs to be done by the student BUT if they are struggling or are NOT on grade level a little extra help might be needed. If you think the homework is too much or it is too hard... set up a conference... and discuss your concerns. PLEASE PLEASE do not do the homework for them... tell them most of the answers or actually do it yourself... not a good example and YES that has been done before!!!
Homework is independent practice of what they worked on during the day. Parents should set guidelines about when it should do their homework. By setting a schedule you know that it gets completed nightly. Remember that your child's homework is their responsibility, not your! If they forget to turn it in tough luck.
For the most part, parents should encourage children to work independently, but be close by for when any help is needed. My parents used to DO my work for me - so NOT helpful!
How ever much it takes to get them, where they need to be. I sit next to my 12 yr old every night and do each problem with him, so I know he's doing it right or I can show him how it's done. In total I spend about 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, doing some kind of homework. Even if there isn't homework, I'm sure there is a test coming that needs to be studied for. A teacher can not teach all of her students , without a parents help.