How to help kids with homework (without doing it for them)

by

How to help your kids with homework

Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Parent involvement in their child’s learning can help improve how well they do in school. However, when it comes to knowing how to help kids with homework, it’s not so simple.

By Melissa Barnes, Monash University and Katrina Tour, Monash University

While it’s important to show support and model learning behaviour, there is a limit to how much help you can give without robbing your child of the opportunity to learn for themselves.

Be involved and interested

An analysis of more than 400 research studies found parent involvement, both at school and at home, could improve students’ academic achievement, engagement and motivation.

School involvement includes parents participating in events such as parent-teacher conferences and volunteering in the classroom. Home involvement includes parents talking with children about school, providing encouragement, creating stimulating environments for learning and finally – helping them with homework.


Read more: What to do at home so your kids do well at school


The paper found overall, it was consistently beneficial for parents to be involved in their child’s education, regardless of the child’s age or socioeconomic status. However, this same analysis also suggested parents should be cautious with how they approach helping with homework.

Parents helping kids with homework was linked to higher levels of motivation and engagement, but lower levels of academic achievement. This suggests too much help may take away from the child’s responsibility for their own learning.

How to help your kids with homework - even older kids

Help them take responsibility

Most children don’t like homework. Many parents agonise over helping their children with homework. Not surprisingly, this creates a negative emotional atmosphere that often results in questioning the value of homework.

Homework has often been linked to student achievement, promoting the idea children who complete it will do better in school. The most comprehensive analysis on homework and achievement to date suggests it can influence academic achievement (like test scores), particularly for children in years seven to 12.

But more research is needed to find out about how much homework is appropriate for particular ages and what types are best to maximise home learning.


Try this: 20+ tips to take the hassle out of homework


 

When it comes to parent involvement, research suggests parents should help their child see their homework as an opportunity to learn rather than perform. For example, if a child needs to create a poster, it is more valuable the child notes the skills they develop while creating the poster rather than making the best looking poster in the class.

Instead of ensuring their child completes their homework, it’s more effective for parents to support their child to increase confidence in completing homework tasks on their own.

How to help kids with homework

1. Praise and encourage your child

Your positivity will make a difference to your child’s approach to homework and learning in general. Simply, your presence and support creates a positive learning environment.

Our study involved working with recently arrived Afghani mothers who were uncertain how to help their children with school. This was because they said they could not understand the Australian education system or speak or write in English.

However, they committed to sit next to their children as they completed their homework tasks in English, asking them questions and encouraging them to discuss what they were learning in their first language.

In this way, the parents still played a role in supporting their child even without understanding the content and the children were actively engaged in their learning.

2. Model learning behaviour

Many teachers model what they would like their students to do. So, if a child has a problem they can’t work out, you can sit down and model how you would do it, then complete the next one together and then have the child do it on their own.

How to help your kids with homework so they do well

3. Create a homework plan

When your child becomes overly frustrated with their homework, do not force them. Instead, together create a plan to best tackle it:

•  read and understand the homework task

•  break the homework task into smaller logical chunks

•  discuss how much time is required to complete each chunk

•  work backwards from the deadline and create a timeline

•  put the timeline where the child can see it

•  encourage your child to mark completed chunks to see the progress made on the task

4. Make space for homework

Life is busy. Parents can create positive study habits by allocating family time for this. This could mean carving out one hour after dinner for your child to do homework while you engage in a study activity such as reading, rather than watching television and relaxing. You can also create a comfortable and inviting reading space for the child to learn in.

Parents’ ability to support their child’s learning goes beyond homework. Parents can engage their child in discussions, read with them, and provide them with other ongoing learning opportunities (such as going to a museum, watching a documentary or spending time online together).The Conversation

What’s your best tip to help kids with homework?

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Feature image by Sean Prior [Deposit Photos]; green shirts by Alla Serebrina [Deposit Photos]; girl at desk from kaboompics

Written by The Conversation

The Conversation is republished on Mumlyfe under their republishing guidelines. The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. Our team of professional editors work with university, CSIRO and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public. Access to independent, high-quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to allow for better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversations.

We’re very social

More for you

Eddie Woo explains why it’s not too late if your teen hates maths

Eddie Woo explains why it’s not too late if your teen hates maths

Have you been watching Eddie Woo on Teenage Boss on the ABC? It's a top show to watch with the kids. Eddie challenges teens to take charge of the family finances for a month and that starts out about as hilariously as you'd expect. The kids all come good, though,...

3 tips to get girls reading books again

3 tips to get girls reading books again

We're thrilled that best-selling author AL Tait has shared her tips to get girls reading books again. AL is the author of seven books for readers aged 10-14 years, including her latest hit out this month The Fire Star. Find a full review of The Fire Star here, or read...

Affiliate links

From time to time Mumlyfe uses affiliate links.  It means that Mumlyfe may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using the link.  You can find out more about how it works here.

You may also like

Related

50+of the best movies to watch with your teens

50+of the best movies to watch with your teens

Remember when you used to suffer through the 27th showing of Finding Nemo, just to do the whole 'family movie night' thing with the kids? I reckon I can still quote that movie from beginning to end (and we still all laugh at how my middle used to be terrified during...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This