Homework is an integral part of a parent’s role in their child’s education. It helps the child to understand and apply what they have learned in class, reinforcing the information and helping them put it into practice. However, for some children, homework can be a considerable challenge. This can be because of what they are asked to do or how much time they have.
Homework can also be a challenge for parents if they haven’t had any formal education or if they don’t feel confident enough to help their children with their homework. As a result, many parents are beginning to ask whether it’s better not to help with homework at all.
Many of us may have seen places that boast that they can “write my essays for me,” but the quality of the final product leaves a lot to be desired. Homework was designed to be more than just something for kids to do when they go home.
The Premise of Homework
Teachers believe that homework provides several distinct purposes, including:
- Responsibility: Students have a deadline date for submitting their homework assignments, and their responsibility for those assignments carries over to real-life responsibilities later in life.
- Practice: Homework offers students a chance to practice what they learn and have solid answers to the questions they’re working on. They may even have real-world examples of how a particular concept can be applied to a practical problem.
- Rite of Passage: Kids do homework just like parents have done in the past. Parents see it as proof that their kids are learning something from school.
Helping With Homework: Does it Help or Hurt?
It’s not uncommon to have kids show up and ask their parents, “Can you write my essay for me?” Some parents will tell them no, but others see it as a way to demonstrate their “coolness” as a parent. The cool points you get for this don’t make up for the potential damage you could be causing to your child’s education.
Harvard suggests that parents see homework as a discussion, where things should be discussed and a methodology worked out alongside the child. So, think about freeing up space on your phone before the new school year starts so you can add apps to help you deal with your child’s education needs. There’s an excellent way to help with kids’ homework and an awful way. If you’re planning on guiding your child through their homework demands, here’s a practical way to do so.
1. Pick Your Location
One of the problems that parents make with homework is that they offer kids the chance to do it anywhere in the house. This approach might have its merits, like being able to keep an eye on your kids. However, the distractions in the middle of a busy kitchen make it difficult for kids to focus. Consider setting aside a handy nook in an office or on the back porch where they can be quiet and undisturbed for the time they need to internalize their lessons properly. It should also go without saying that you shouldn’t be pestering them while they get their homework done, either.
2. Avoid Doing Your Kids’ Homework Yourself
Many parents fall into the trap of doing their kids’ homework as if they were assigned it. When you have to write an essay for your child’s homework, you’re not helping them learn, but you’re doing the work for them. The result is kids who see homework as a chore they can assign to you instead of doing it themselves.
It’s a much better approach to let the child do their homework, together with the mistakes they’re likely to make. Then go through those corrections with your child, so they can figure out where they encountered problems and how to avoid them in the future. Learning is an iterative process, and we must first fail before succeeding. Homework helps to drive that life lesson home.
3. Don’t Argue About How Difficult the Homework Is
This ties into the point above about failing before we succeed. A child’s homework might be a lot more complex than what they had to do in school during the lesson. This happens because the teacher wants to encourage kids to think practically about the problem and even offer them edge cases to stimulate their learning.
Complex problems shouldn’t be a reason for complaint but rather a basis for learning how a particular process is done. If your child doesn’t know how it’s done, the teacher will explain the details during their next class and help them clear it up. Difficult homework is a blessing in disguise because it helps kids understand that not everything is just like the classroom says it will be.
4. Don’t Become a Homework Tyrant
Some parents like a “hands-on” approach to parenting, but this can sometimes lead to some stressful situations for kids. These parents may establish absolute control over their kids and keep an eye on their homework like an employer would supervise a wayward employee. While they might not do the child’s homework for them, they would stand over them and wait until their homework is done. This approach can lead to kids getting homework done for the sake of doing it but learning nothing from the process.
>A far better methodology would be to offer kids support so they can ask for the help they need. An approachable, open-door policy allows you to help your kids while still giving them that level of autonomy they need to develop to be properly well-rounded socially.
5. Don’t Pretend to Know it All
One of the most pervasive issues parents have is fear of looking incompetent in front of their kids. Instead of pretending that you, as a parent, know everything there is to know about everything, you should accept your limitations and pass on that respect to your kids. Some aspects of a child’s homework might stump you, and that’s okay.
You don’t need to know everything, but you should admit when you don’t. You can also use this time as a teachable moment to show your child how you learn alongside them, going through the homework together and learning as they learn. This approach goes a long way towards building bridges between you and your child.
Organizing Homework Time
Ideally, kids shouldn’t feel like homework is an unending plain of tasks they need to complete. There should be a set start and end time for homework, with little room for compromise. You might benefit from learning about the Pareto Principle to plan your homework time.
According to Oxford Home Schooling, the Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of all results stem from 20% of action. Translating this into your homework scheduling, you should determine the time your child will be working on homework in hours and divide those hours into study time with a minor break (usually not more than 15 minutes per hour). This approach allows your child’s brain to retain what they learn better.
A Right Way and a Wrong Way
How you parent is up to you. Your methodology is unique, but accepting criticism and advice can help you enhance your child’s learning ability and help you to connect to your child’s experience more. Giving in to your child’s complaints to write their essay for them won’t help them learn. On the surface, it might seem as though you’re connecting with them, but the truth is that you’re just helping them avoid responsibility.
As a parent, your goal should be to give them the best way to learn and the most efficient place to do so. These tips might differ from how you do things but show results when applied. If you’ve been trying and failing to figure out the best way to do homework with your kid, give these methods a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results!
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