Homework 101

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According to research done at John Hopkins University, 87% of parents have a positive view of helping with homework, and see it as a beneficial way to spend time with their kids.

In truth, helping with homework isn’t always a good thing.  A study at Duke University concluded that during the middle-school years it actually hurt student performance. Kids at this age are seeking autonomy – trying to identify as individuals apart from Mom and Dad (and apart from their parents’ help with homework).

Problems can arrive at any grade level if parents apply too much pressure on their kids to perform well.  There can also be conflict if a parent decides to intervene without being asked.  The implication is that the child can’t do it alone.

Here are some ideas of how parents can help their Elementary School children with homework:  

  • First and foremost, try to keep learning fun. One thing that can help is to refrain from demanding perfection.
  • Be sensitive to the fact your elementary school child will need to take a break if the homework is difficult or frustrating.

Ideas for Junior High/Middle school Homework help…  Keep in mind this is the age when kids need autonomy.  Your best bet at this stage is to encourage your son or daughter to problem-solve.  That means you will not solve the problem for your junior high child.  When assignments seem long and tedious, teach your son or daughter how to break the work into smaller segments.

That same Duke study found that in High School, parent involvement is again positive.  At this stage parents are typically helping in their areas of giftedness and consequently helping with subjects that interest them.  If a parent isn’t able to help in a particular area, it’s best to find another source – a tutor, for example.

Regardless of age or grade level, there are some general things a parent can do to help with homework. 

  • Having a quiet place to study is very important.
  • So is having the necessary supplies available.
  • Perhaps the most important thing, Mom and Dad, is to help your kids understand how the things they’re learning today will benefit them in the future.

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