How much homework help should I give my child?
Real Mom Problem
“I've got a first grader and a second grader who don't always do their homework by themselves. It seems like I've constantly got to be right by their side and when I do they question themselves about whether they've got the right answer or not.”
- 1. Let your child complete the homework on their own first
- 2. Be available during homework time for questions
- 3. Reassure your child that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and that's okay, but it is important to go back and see where you went wrong and fix errors
- 4. Talk to your child's teacher if you are concerned
Real Mom Solutions
It's important for your child to understand and complete their homework, but how much support should you give them as they figure it out? See what these moms have to say about helping with homework.
These Moms Check & Help with Homework
My son is slow with his homework and he feels mortified at the thought that it might not be right. He used to want me to be right there all of the time in lower grades (he's going into sixth now). I have to prepare dinner around homework time so he would sit at the dining room table and I'd be "busy" with dinner prep, so he had to do what he could alone, but I was there when he was truly stuck. I would also check periodically and nonchalantly to make sure he was on the right track. I definitely didn't have time to let him mess up the entire page and then correct it, plus I didn't want him practicing it all wrong and getting the wrong way stuck in his head (he has Autism, so this can happen easily with him). I would have him correct every problem that was wrong.
I let my kids know which answer(s) is wrong on their homework and have them figure out a different answer. If they don't get it, I will show them how to get it. I don't give the answer unless they totally don't get it at all and then I give the answer and teach them how I got it and make sure they understand how I got it. I have read my son's stories, read other passages for certain homework, figured out how to do his math so I can show him what he did wrong and if he needs help, I can help him. Usually when I point out a wrong answer, especially in math, he knows where he went wrong right away and corrects it.
Our son's teachers have always told us to go over homework with them. His grade in language arts has gotten better the more I work with him and make sure his homework is done correctly and that he understands it. Some homework gets a check mark (especially for my daughter), and some are actually graded and are figured into their final grade.
I look at homework as an at-home teaching tool. I am able to see how well my daughter is learning in class. I let her do her homework, I check it over, circle the wrong answers and let her try and correct them herself. If she can't, I then help her by reading it out load or showing her new ways to reach the correct answer. I don't believe letting them do it incorrectly is going to help them at all. Most of the time teachers just correct the homework and throw it in the "take home" pile and never really let each child and parent know what they need help on. So I think correcting is really helpful as long as you are showing her HOW to get the right answers as well
I always sit down with my kids and point out their mistakes. I personally won't correct the mistake, but I will allow them to think about it, do research, check notes, or state the rules so that they are making their own corrections. Their homework is a reflection on what the parents are doing at home!
I review my daughter's homework. She does get graded on it; it's not just a did- or didn't-do grade, it's an actual grade. I circle the number she got wrong. And then have her find her own mistakes. The ones she got wrong stay circled, so that when she turns it in, the teacher can see what ones she got wrong and see it was corrected. I make her show ALL of her work. I don't feel it's fair to turn in homework for a grade with a bunch of wrong answers. Therefore we go over it all.
I always go over the homework with my son. He is in first grade this year and he is making mistakes on subtraction. I don't see how I am doing my job as a parent if I see incorrect answers and I can see where he made the mistake, but I let him take it to school with incorrect answers on it anyway. If that is the case I may as well just leave the room and tell him he is on his own! I don't think the majority of overworked teachers in this country have the time to really look at and understand why every child got answers wrong on their homework. I think it's more likely they circle the wrong answer and stick it in the cubby.
My opinion is that teachers spend enough time with our children to know what needs to be focused on and what the individual needs help with. That is what tests and in-school work are for. If my child brings home work, it's to practice what they have learned that day, so I absolutely am going to point out when they do it wrong. Also parents should be teaching their children as much as the school. Maybe they are getting it wrong because they don't understand the way it's being taught. I look for different ways to teach my kids things because I know how they learn.
These Moms Get the Teacher Involved
I do correct my daughter's homework and if it is something that I think she needs more practice on, I let her teacher know. Her teacher and I always talk about things that she is having trouble with because her teacher knows I will help her with it at home. Sometimes it's easier for your children to grasp how to do it with the one-on-one time rather than in class. It is also sometimes easier for the teacher. When the teacher does the lessons in class, they should know who is having trouble with what by looking at the worksheets they do in class. Well at least any of the teachers my daughters have had did it this way.
Last week my youngest had two problems that I just did not understand how to explain to her, so I got her to school early enough so that she could get her teacher to help her with the problems.
The point of homework is to practice new skills learned in class. It doesn't do any good to practice it incorrectly. I review the homework and let my child know if something needs to be corrected. I view education as a team sport. I'm in partnership with my kids and their teachers. Homework is time to reinforce what the teacher has done, and it's my job to be the home-base coach. I will point out where the mistake is and provide any instruction in how to find the right answer that my child needs. If they seem like they don't quite get the concept, we walk through it again and I let the teacher know the issue.
I correct my kids' homework. We discuss what is incorrect and why, and then they fix it. This allows ME to know what they are having trouble with. I have more one-on-one time with them to help them understand then their teacher does. I speak with their teachers often, so we both know what's going on.
Some Prefer to Let Kids Make Mistakes
My girls are in fourth grade and I do not correct their homework. It is their responsibility to review their work when they have completed it to see if they have overlooked something. I of course want my children to get good grades (they do, both are at the top of their classes), but I want them to earn them. Not me earning the grade for them. Homework is an important tool for both the teacher and the child, as it lets both of them know what they need to work on. Let them make mistakes and learn from them. Stop worrying that you (mom) will look bad if your little one gets a poor grade.
On a teacher's advice (don't even recall what grade it was now) I was told to keep making sure he wasn't entirely off course, but if there were just one or two problems incorrect just let it be, so the teacher can get a true sense of their abilities. She talked to my son as well and let him know that it's okay to make mistakes. I had tried to tell him that until I was blue in the face, but when the teacher told him he was okay with the concept. Maybe the teacher can back you up in letting your kids know it's ok if their homework isn't 100% perfect every time!
I don't correct my boys' homework. It is at-home practice of what they did that day in school, and I think that the teacher needs to see if they got the concept or not. By correcting it, you are depriving the teacher the chance to see where your child needs help. Homework is never graded at our school, so they can't get a bad grade for making mistakes. After all, we learn by making mistakes, right?