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How Parents Can Help With Homework (Without Doing All The Work)

Mother helping her child with homework

If you’re the parent of a school-aged child, then it’s likely that you have encountered homework. It’s also likely that you have wondered about how much you should be helping.

While many parents have their opinions on this issue, it’s important to consider the pros and cons from the student’s point of view.

Should parents help with homework? The answer may not be so simple.

Parental involvement in homework

Studies show that children who spend more time on homework get better grades (on average) than those who spend less time. Parents who play an active role in homework are putting their kids in the best position to succeed.

Though expert opinions vary, most educators can agree that parents should help with homework to some degree. Your role as a parent is to reinforce the learning process happening when your child does his or her homework. This means keeping your child on task as well as providing motivation and guidance.

How much help is too much?

Where parents often go wrong is they can become too involved, helping more than needed. Providing answers or completing projects for your child  may end up hurting in the long run because it can prevent the child from developing an understanding of the subject.

By doing the work for your child, you aren’t empowering him or her to work toward learning goals. Students who get this type of help from their parents often end up getting lower grades because they don’t get the opportunity to learn the material. This causes them to perform poorly in the actual classroom. It can also set a poor precedent for success later in life.

Helping without hurting

Most studies are clear about limiting parental involvement to helping with organization, time management, and creating a positive learning environment. This means giving your child a place to work, limiting distractions, and providing supplies like pencils, pens, and paper. It also means guiding your child toward answers when he or she has questions – without answering it for him or her.

How should parents help with homework?

These tips will help keep you involved without doing your child’s homework yourself.

  1. Set a regular schedule for completing homework.
  2. Establish a dedicated homework space.
  3. Make sure this place has the supplies and resources the child may need.
  4. Provide guidance, but not answers.
  5. Help your child manage his or her time. Keep him or her on task.
  6. Keep the environment pressure free. Don’t tell your child to finish by dinnertime.
  7. Learn how your child learns. If he or she is a visual learner, use flashcards. For auditory learners, talk aloud about the topic.
  8. Encourage autonomy. Help your child learn to help themselves.

The key to helping without hurting is to provide direction and encouragement. The goal should always be to motivate your child to want to find the answers him or herself. This will help your child build the skills needed for success in the classroom – and beyond.

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