How To Help Your Kids With Homework Without Doing it For Them
Helping your kids with their homework feels like it should be easy. In reality, toeing the line between helping them and doing it for them is easier said than done.
What are you supposed to do when they can’t solve a tricky math problem for the life of them? How can you encourage them with their learning without giving the answers? What if they simply do not care about their homework?
This guide will take you through the homework basics, including how to help your kids with homework without doing it for them.
How To Help Your Kids With Their Homework
Take the Time
The first step to helping your kids with their homework is taking the time to go through it with them. The way you regard your kid’s homework will model how they should regard it. If you never have the time and are generally uninvolved and uninterested in your child’s homework, they will likely view it with the same indifference.
Taking the time to sit down and work on it together models to your child that they should take their homework seriously.
Sticking to a routine is a valuable technique to increase anyone’s productivity, especially for kids. The trick is to let them set their own routine. Children generally don’t have a say in most of their daily schedule. Letting your child choose when they would like to do their homework gives them more control over it and therefore more responsibility. Instead of a daily chore prescribed by their parents, it’s a task they take ownership of.
Break it Down
When it comes to helping your child do their homework, it can be hard to help explain something without giving them the answers. The key is to help them problem-solve in general without going into the specific details of each problem for them.
The best way to do this is to simply break it down. Ask them where they would start, to rephrase the question, and to break it down into steps. This way you can model learning behaviour for them while they apply these problem-solving techniques to the actual homework.
Don’t Always Correct
While being engaged and invested in your child’s homework is a good thing, that doesn’t mean that you takeover the role of teacher. If your kid isn’t understanding something and you know they’re wrong but you’re not sure how to explain it to them, it’s ok for them to submit their homework with wrong answers.
Homework is not only a way for students to practice and learn but also for teachers to monitor student progress. By submitting homework with wrong answers your child’s teacher will know what it is they need to work on before any final assessments roll around.
Reward Progress, Not Perfection
While it may seem positive and encouraging to praise your child for something they have a natural talent for, it could actually be sending them the wrong message. Praise and encouragement are good things, but it’s important to be wary of what language we use. Saying something like “You’re so good at math” may seem like an encouraging remark, but it only praises the result and not the progress. They may have not even tried in their math test, but studied hard for English and didn’t do as well, receiving no praise for their efforts.
Instead, remarks such as “I’m proud of how much work you put into this” positively reinforce working hard rather than just getting good results.
It’s possible to encourage and support your child’s learning without interfering too much. There will, of course, be confusion and meltdowns that come with the frustration of learning how to learn. The key is patience and to never give in and just reveal the answers. Submitting homework littered with mistakes is more valuable to your child’s learning than acing every homework sheet but failing when the big test rolls around.
Orly Muscat is the owner and director of Coastal Babysitters where she connects families to Babysitters in Brisbane, Byron and Gold Coast.
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