If you’re a parent or a guardian, I’m sure you will agree it is natural to want the absolute best for your child. Therefore, if your child is struggling with their homework, you will understandably want to help them in any way you can. But, whilst you want to help your child achieve their potential, you don’t want to simply do their homework for them. So when does parental help with homework go too far?
How equipped are parents to help?
Naturally, teaching and academia isn’t everyone’s forte and it’s unlikely that any parent will be good at every single subject. Also, parents have not attended the lessons which their child’s homework is based upon, so too much uninformed input from parents could lead a child away from the correct methods or information they were taught. So, if you want to support your child in their homework, try to listen to and trust your child and prompt them with questions if they are struggling, rather than trying to figure out the homework by yourself.
However, it is not the job of the parent to actually teach the child the homework task; the teacher should have done this effectively before setting the homework in question. So, if your child is consistently struggling with their homework in a particular subject and you feel unable to help, the best thing course of action would be to contact the subject teacher to voice your concerns. This way the teacher can go over the content that your child is finding challenging to ensure that they understand it.
When does parental help become a hindrance?
An important part of growing up is learning how to learn independently and be self-motivated. This is particularly crucial for a pupil who is planning to go to university. Therefore, if your child comes to rely on you too heavily for help with homework, it may lead to a nasty shock when they can no longer depend on you. This also applies to parents who are heavily involved in motivating their child and organising their time. If your child only does their homework because you make them, you may have to gradually step back and allow them to make their own mistakes before the stakes become higher at GCSE and beyond. Ultimately, your responsibility as a parent should be helping your child to help themselves. And if this means they get a detention or two to begin with, at least they will have learnt a useful lesson.
How you can help your child
If your child is an auditory learner, you can make a big difference lot just by talking to your child about a problem they are struggling with. You don’t even necessarily have to fully understand the topic yourself. Just by engaging with your child and allowing them to explore the problem in hand, you will probably find that your child will work it out for themselves. You can also help your child with their homework by motivating them and helping them to concentrate. This includes creating a good working environment, removing distractions and providing rewards, even if it’s just verbal praise. You can also make a substantial difference by verbally encouraging your child, particularly if they are feeling negative or unconfident about a particular piece of homework.
Additionally, many schools offer sessions to help parents help their child with maths. Methods of teaching maths have changed significantly in the past twenty years so these courses function to teach parents these new teaching methods, enabling them to help their children with maths homework more effectively. So if your child struggles with maths and you feel unsure about how to help them, don’t hesitate to inquire at their school to find out if these sessions are available to you.
Overall, a supportive parent can make a huge difference to a child’s attitude towards homework and school in general, as well as their grades. Hopefully this blog post has reassured you that just by supporting your child in these ways you can help them achieve their potential.