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Don’t help your kids with homework

You may feel that it is proper and just to help your students with their homework but studies showed that kids tend to perform less in school when helped by parents. Angel Harris, a scholar and a professor of sociology and African and African-American studies at Duke, told Today Moms that parents must do away with the feeling that anything they do can help their child. Parents do not have all the answers and that they shouldn’t assume that they have the answers.
help with assignment

From the Researchers Perspective

“Some of the things that they do may actually lead to declines in achievement – inadvertently, of course”, she explained.

Harris together with Keith Robinson analyse a survey released by the US Department of Education. This survey was conducted on American families over 3 decades. Same families were used for the survey for the span of 30 years. Information was collected including kid’s achievement, behaviors and parent’s behavior.

Researcher Keith Robinson found out that when parents from various racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups constantly help their children with homework, performance in reading, math and even their overall text scores and grades showed no major sign of developments. Robinson added that regular help with homework even put child’s grade improvement at risk.

So does this mean that kids who are having a hard time on their lessons are the ones who are asking for more homework help? No, Harris explained that they measured the change in achievement among all kids including those who performed well in school. The effect of parental help to kid’s homework was similar across the board.

He also stressed out that the survey made only provided details about how frequently parents helped their children with their homework and not how they helped.

“The basic message to parents is that being involved will not always result in better grades”, Robinson said.
Robinson also wanted parents to consult their children first before they help them with their homework. A question like “Is what I’m doing help you” can help a lot in managing the situation and making the child feel better.

From a Teacher’s Point of View

A high school teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Ga, Vicki Davis, also shares the same advice with that of Harris and Robinson. She has seen parents taking part in doing their children’s assignment most particularly in writing narrative reports or making big projects and she doesn’t personally support that.

teaching kids with assignment

“Families who are over-involved in their children’s homework can bring the child into helplessness. As a teacher, you recognize a student’s work. It’s like seeing somebody’s face every day and then all of a sudden, their face looks different.” she said.

It is her hope for parents to limit their participation to ensuring their children’s homework is done. She expects elementary students to ask help from parents because they might still be confused and she doesn’t really mind if older student’s talk “big picture” with their families about a project.

She noticed that students who are performing well in school are often those who have parents who hold them accountable of their homework. The main goal is to produce learners who don’t depend on parents.

From a Mom’s Personal Experience

A mother from Irvington, New York, Kerry Lyons, 42, said that the research finding is a good news to her. A mom to 3 kids, Lyons is working full time and everytime she gets home, all her 3 kids which are all in kindergartens are done with their homework.

However, Lyons admits that she helps her kids twice a week on their homework and spend time with each child during the weekend to discuss what they have been working on in school.

Lyons explained that she doesn’t have the hours to stay focused on her kids and give them help on school works like most parents do.

Since getting too much involved in your child’s homework is not advised, Harris and Robinson proposed 3 ways that help kids do better in school:

1. Requesting for a particular teacher for your child
2. Expecting him or her to go to college
3. Discussing school activities with your child.

Ways to Which Parents Can Help Kids Do Well in Studies
Worried about how you can help your child get better in school? Here are some of the best ways on how you can show your support without taking away their academic independence.

1. Create an environment that encourages learning inside your home.

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts of Family Education advise parents to create an environment inside their home that encourages learning. According to them, this technique can bring a major influence on how well your children do in school. They want parents to provide many different opportunities to become excited about learning even at home.

2. Discuss with your children about their activities in school.

Queena N. Lee-Chua, Ph.D a contributor to Raise Smart Kids parenting website advises parents to spend time with their children, discussing about what happens in school. According to her, these talks range from daily news to important events. This will give parents an idea of their children’s current experiences and that if, they need help or not.

3. Develop a good parent-teacher relationship.

Colorín Colorado in her website iColorin Colorado thinks that developing a partnership with your child’s teachers and school staff could help your child do well in school. She pointed out the importance of meeting your child’s teacher and getting to know who’s who at your child’s school in developing your child’s learning and comfortability.

4. Set a good example to your child.

Mark R. Solomon of Metroparent believes that setting a good example to your child actually helps them be better in school. He advises parents to model good learning behaviour in the way they handle their job and household responsibilities. Parents must let their children know that they are also still learning. Parents who are still in school or maybe pursuing a graduate degree must influence their child through good study habits.

So the next time you sit in with your child and take over his or her assignment – think twice. There’s no harm to giving your 100% support to your child’s learning but you, as a parent must also know that to create a smart child is to let him or her learn through his or her own hardwork.

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