How Much Should You Help With Your Child's Homework?

20/08/2009 09:36 | Updated 22 May 2015

pic by debbie webberI admit it -- I am easily confused by homework

My confusion isn't about x + y = a (well, it is but that's not what I mean here), it's more to do with how much pushing, cajoling and help should you give your child?

It is a fine line to tread. After all, it's a form of cheating and makes the exercise pointless if you're going to do it for them. But you want to support your child and for them to know their education matters and they're not on their own.As far as I can tell, most homework given to children nowadays is not a measure of how well motivated they are, how much they've understood in class or how good they are at working independently.

Instead homework is the perfect way to measure how pushy the child's parents are. Or to look at it another way, how supportive and involved they are.

I appreciate learning times tables, how to read and spellings can only be done effectively with lots of back-up and extra drilling at home and I have no problem with that.

My problem lies in when the child gets older and projects are set, which gives parents the perfect opportunity to make sure their little Johnny gets a good mark, whatever it takes.

Quite often I've seen children skipping into school with a parent bringing up the rear laden down with some amazing 3-D structure that, had the child actually made it, they would be taking the class and not the teacher. Helping children and taking over and doing it for them seems to be a fine line easily crossed for a lot of parents.

There is a big difference between answering questions on how to find information on the Tudors while making dinner to actually doing the homework yourself, which a surprising amount of parents also do in secondary schools.

The type of homework schools set now makes it easy for parents to step in and do the project themselves, often earning an A for their efforts.

However, helping can take on a different form, although in these days of pushy, competitive parenting it takes a strong character who let's their child hand in work that has been all his or her own.

Establishing routines, with appropriate supplies to hand, is important although no guarantee that doing homework will be plain sailing when they hit their teens. Coaxing out ideas, boosting confidence by encouraging and suggesting resources are all helpful.

Contacting the teacher if your child is struggling with certain tasks is also important, and one that teachers appreciate rather than a perfect piece handed in by a struggling child.

What I'd really love is an end to homework. It creates divides in families and introduces so much conflict that you have to wonder, is it worth it?

Failing that, attendance at homework clubs should be compulsory. I believe it would create a level playing field and give families more time to relax and bond.

How easy do you find it to get the balance right and how much homework help do you give?

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