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 helping kids with homework, it’s not so simple.
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.
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.
Help Them Take Responsibility
Most children don’t like homework. Many parents agonize 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 maximize home learning.
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 create 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 sitting 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.