Should parents help with homework or not?

This is the time-old question: should we help with their homework or not?

Homework should be done independently unless it is a project that involves new learning. Homework should always be consolidating what has already been learnt – therefore it is a chance for the pupil to revise what has been taught and a chance for the tutor to see what has sunk in!
Issues only arise when homework has been set that bares no relation to what has been covered in that particular lesson or when the homework is not pitched at the right level for your child. Giving little Johnny some subtraction questions, when he has only just mastered addition, is completely pointless and will only turn homework into a frustrating time for all involved. Your tutor will know what your child is able to do and will set homework to suit THEM rather than homework to suit the syllabus and demands of the curriculum!

The problems with helping with homework:
• It doesn’t encourage independence or perseverance.
• Children rely on the help too much and do not make the progress they should be as they feel they need a crutch all the time.
• Your child’s tutor is unable to see their true ability and whether they need any more support or teaching on that concept. As far as we are concerned, they totally aced quadratic equations at the age of 11! Sign him up for MENSA now…
Letting a child complete homework on their own when the homework is pitched at the right level for them will never be demoralising. It should be a moment where they say: “I’ve STILL got this!” Parents should be reinforcing the focus for each piece of homework before it is attempted. Make sure they are full of confidence with what they need to do. If they need a little re-cap or discussion about it before they attempt homework independently that can only reinforce their learning further.
“Do you remember how to do column addition? Remember to put some similes and metaphors in that piece of writing! Off you go…”

When is it ok to help?
• If they need a particular word reading or explaining for them.
• If they need reminding of a mathematical concept through another example before attempting the homework given. We all need a quick reminder of how to do something now and again.
• Look through their notes from the lesson with them and verbally discuss what the method was and how they need to do it again.
• Talk through their writing targets with them before they start a piece of writing so they have a keen focus on what they need to do.

Homework should never be an exasperating task and should be done in short bursts throughout the week so that it doesn’t become a drag. If you ever want more support for your child, please contact us to request a login for our Online Learning Zone which has tons of resources to help your child at home. We would be happy to advise what tasks will suit their level.

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