General Question

janbb's avatar

Should parents go over a child’s homework and help them correct it before they bring it in?

Asked by janbb (63032points) October 10th, 2023 from iPhone

Talking about elementary school students.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

64 Answers

chyna's avatar

The woman in my office does it every night with her daughter.
I hadn’t thought about it, but now that I do, I don’t remember my parents doing that. But then, I don’t remember having homework in elementary school.
I don’t have an opinion about whether it should be done or not. I’m not a parent, so I would just be guessing. Look forward to hearing what parents think.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, provided that the parent does not contradict the teacher or the lesson. For a math lesson the parent may need to know a particular approach to solving a problem that the teacher wants the student to follow.

My mother and I had some vociferous arguments about correcting my writing with regard to sentence structure and subject predicate agreement, but I told her she could nt comment on creative writing exercises.

SnipSnip's avatar

Of course. Repetition is so helpful. They read and do the work, you discuss it with them, teacher gives feedback.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure, if the parent has the time. If it is done in a way that the child learns the correct answer and would know for a test. If it doesn’t cause a fight or take a ton of time from relaxation and fun as a family.

This is why I do not believe in grading on a curve. Children who have help at home have an advantage. I had teachers who did not grade homework except for yes the student did the homework or no they didn’t. I fully support this. The only exception would be projects and essays that are given a lot of time to work on.

My parents didn’t help me with homework unless I asked for help. Almost never.

I didn’t start getting homework until 4th grade. I support no homework through second grade. I think homework should only be assigned if a child can reasonably do it on their own.

Cupcake's avatar

No. It’s typically outside of the parent’s expertise to understand what the teacher is looking for from the assignment, how the material is taught in school, and what is developmentally appropriate for the child to do. This type of parental involvement has lead to conflict and frustration, etc. in my experience. I will not be involved with homework.

Caveat: my children are neurodiverse (autism, ADHD, anxiety). They are often frustrated and exhausted at the end of the school day. I intentionally send them to schools with no-homework policies.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake You also touched on why I disagreed with daily homework at young ages. There seemed to be a push for it 1995–2015 and finally letting up a little. I thought it was horrible.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

I am an elementary school teacher. We don’t assign genuine homework until fourth grade, and we’re in a school district where only about half of the parents could be described as actively involved in their child’s education. So while I can’t say that we expect parents to go over and correct homework, we do encourage it.

Specifically, the best thing to do is point out which ones they got correct (good news first!), then go over the incorrect ones in a way that helps them figure out the correct answers (rather than just saying, “no, the answer to that one is B”). Finally, it helps to praise them for working through their mistakes. (In general, praising children for working diligently is much more effective than praising them for “being smart.”)

I understand that not everyone has the time, inclination, or ability to do this. That’s fine. But if one is able, then it can be very helpful to the student. And in my experience, most teachers are happy to provide guidance if the parent is unsure of how to help at home.

I’m sorry to hear that your children are frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day. There are specialized push-in programs specifically designed to avoid this outcome for neurodiverse children, but they haven’t been implemented in many states at present.

JLeslie's avatar

I was a “normal” child and 8–9 hours of school was enough for the day. I’m including commuting to and from school, because I think commuting counts as time not doing what I really wanted to do.

filmfann's avatar

Teachers are overwhelmed with so many kids with specific problems with homework. I think helping your kids would be helpful.

ragingloli's avatar

Of course.
“No Timmy, there are not just 3 states of matter. There are a lot more. Let me tell you about the Quantum Hall state and…”

Cupcake's avatar

Even with diagnoses and evaluations, my children have never been approved for in-school services or accommodations.

I have never been provided with “correct” answers to go over with my children and, as an autistic person myself, I have the distinct ability to see many options as correct. I am quite literally no help with homework (and my PhD does not come in handy at all). But I am as engaged and supportive as possible. I work with my children a lot on emotional regulation, self-advocacy, resilience, and having a growth mindset. I also redirect my children from their incessant begging to stay home from school and help to encourage their communication and relationship with their teachers.

Caravanfan's avatar

Hell no. I never looked at my daughter’s homework unless she specifically asked me to. It was always her responsibility. But I was always opposed to homework, especially for young children. It was mostly stupid busywork.

Pandora's avatar

Yes. It’s not the same as giving them the answer. I used to do it with my kids. I would just go over their work and tell them which ones were wrong and to go over the problem. Once they thought they had the right answer then I would have them explain how they got it to make sure they understood and weren’t guessing. For reading writing and spelling I would tell them what paragraphs and sentences they may have messed up and let them find the mistake. Sometimes they were either in a hurry to get it done and either read the question wrong or just made some easy spelling or grammar mistakes.

Once they got to high school and middle school, I would just help prep them for tests if they needed someone to shoot questions at them.

seawulf575's avatar

Yep. That would be the responsible thing to do. Not DO the corrections for the child, but help them understand why it is wrong and how to come to the right answer.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand “not do the corrections.” The teacher is going to tell the kids the correct answers. Eventually, the child needs to know the correct answer or they won’t learn the correct answer. The homework is done, it’s not like the child is trying to get out of doing the homework.

It depends on the type of assignment too. Writing a book report is different than multiple choice on a worksheet.

The more I think about it, the more I would let my child guide me if they wanted help or not.

Reading this thread it is even more baffling to me how there was such a big push for daily homework in elementary school for a while. A friend of mine teaches elementary level and when I asked her about it 15 years ago she said it’s the parents asking for homework. Who are these parents? Not any parents I know.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie I have known parents that would just correct the papers without involving the child. That’s what I mean by not doing the corrections. Look over the homework – yes. Identify answers that are wrong – yes. But you have to have the child learn. That is the whole point of school and homework.

kritiper's avatar

Do you really believe all parents remember (much less understand) all that stuff??

janbb's avatar

@kritiper It was interesting because she is in second grade and does get homework – in a private school. Two of the problems were to figure out how many days were in 9 weeks and how many days were in 8 weeks. If you haven’t had the multiplication tables yet, it is hard to help a kid figure it out.

I think by 4th grade, I probably will be out of the picture!

seawulf575's avatar

@kritiper It was a question about elementary school children. I would hope they do. If not, they can look at the lesson in the text to get the refresher.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

No, you’re not doing them any favors. They need to learn how to learn on their own. If you’re always there as a safety net, expect poorer performance in college. They’ll have no true learning skills because they are used to a bailout. That said, if they ask for help then by all means, help them, just not too much.

Caravanfan's avatar

^^ exactly.

janbb's avatar

BTW, I was just the Bubby there, so while it’s not my circus, it kinda is my monkeys.

Zaku's avatar

When the kid wants the help, and the parent can give it well, and there aren’t other issues, then yeah, it can be great in many ways.

There are some potential problems at pitfalls, for examples:

* if the parent gets pushy or insistent about it
* if there are issues with how the parent does it
* if the kid learns to fool the parent into doing the work, but isn’t learning how to do it themselves
* if the kid doesn’t have a good way to effectively communicate that they don’t want to work with their parents on it, and/or they start to feel like they need to anyway, to satisfy the desires or emotional needs of the parent to do so
* if the teacher has some sort of issue with how the kid ends up learning or doing the work

Caravanfan's avatar

Different stokes obviously. I’m just saying how we approached it. My daughter turned out fine academically. Better than me actually

janbb's avatar

@Caravanfan I was actually in your camp. I worked on a few with her after she had done it all herself and then felt I should leave the mistakes for the teacher to see where she needed help. But when I asked the parent, they said they do go over it with her after she does it and explain the errors. So I am curious about what others feel. I don’t remember my own kids having homework in second grade and later it was certainly all on them (including no tutors for the SATs which my older son recently thanked me about.)

Caravanfan's avatar

I always felt it was not my job to teach my kid their subjects. That was the teachers job.

But when she asked I did help. Even through college. She would occasionally ask me for help with some medical related research and I would find her sources

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. It shows the kids that you are interested. It’s important to not just give the right answer tho. You need to help the child figure it out for themselves.

janbb's avatar

^^ Yes to that.

Caravanfan's avatar

Oh I was always interested. I just didn’t help

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^Meanie.

I worked with my son on his spelling every week. Lord he needed it! I’ll never forget the one time he got 100% on his spelling test. I don’t know who was more excited, him or me!

kritiper's avatar

@seawulf575 That should work. After all, I’ve known two full grown men, who had kids, who couldn’t read.

Caravanfan's avatar

@dutch. I did help when she asked, but she rarely did.

seawulf575's avatar

@kritiper Now I’m curious. Why didn’t they ever learn to read? Even if school was boring or underfunded or just passed kids regardless of their learning, why did they just settle to never learn, even later in life?

seawulf575's avatar

@kritiper Another thought I just had. If the parents of the two gentlemen you know (that can’t read) had helped them through school by checking homework and making them learn, would that have changed the outcome?

raum's avatar

Depends on the kid.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@seawulf575 some kids, mainly boys, just don’t like reading. My son was / is like that.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III So did you just let him go without learning to read?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Dutchess_III Give boys something they’re interested in reading, and they will. Primary school is set up for and caters to little girls. Academic needs of little boys are often not being met.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course not @seawulf575! At that time, tho, they had quit teaching phonics which was a mistake IMO. He learned phonics on my living room wall. He just didn’t like it. Nothing I could do about that.
However, one day he bought home a Harry Potter book. He immersed himself in that book. I tip toed around him for 3 days. All chores were suspended.
He still doesn’t care for reading tho.
Interestingly he consistently beats me in Words With Friends with words nobody ever heard of! He just makes them up! He had a helluva teacher!

Dutchess_III's avatar

When he started having kids the first thing he did was to buy a set of kid’s encyclopedias. They have a ton of books.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also, pitching in on homework gives you an idea what the kids deal with everyday.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@Blackwater_Park “No, you’re not doing them any favors. They need to learn how to learn on their own.”

This is demonstrably false. Parents being involved in their child’s homework from a young age improves both short-term and long-term academic achievement. As I said above, however, involvement is not just giving them the answers. Going over homework means helping them understand why they made mistakes and how to get the correct answer. That is teaching them how to learn on their own, not preventing it. But seeing it done is generally more effective than telling them to sink or swim.

Caravanfan's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield Nobody said anything about not being involved. My wife and I were very involved. We just didn’t help her by going over answers unless she specifally asked. And she just graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with two hard science degrees so she turned out okay. And it was all her.

Caravanfan's avatar

Hey look at that. I made a bold text. Just figured out how to do that. Heh. I made a bold text. This is fun

Perhaps if someone on fluther had helped me with my homework I would have figured this out earlier.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well Dumbshit. Why didn’t you ask?

“The kids need to learn how to learn on their own” @Blackwater_Park? Then what do we need schools and teachers for?

Caravanfan's avatar

@dutch. Lots of my daughters classes were exactly that. The assignment would be to “learn about whatever and use whatever resources you can”.

Sometimes I would help her with resources.

Caravanfan's avatar

WAY better than sitting in a boring lecture and taking notes. In class they would get active time to research and the teacher would help and answer questions.

This technique taught them self solving research skills instead of rote memorization.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Nice. I didn’t like reading as a child, but then heard a radio theater of Dracula one afternoon/evening. I was fascinated and decided to read it. That started a long, long time of reading that hasn’t ended to this day.

I think one challenge parents today have that I was just starting to have when I had little children is the advent of video games. It is worse today with social media and 180 channels of crap on the TV added into the mix. Kids are blasted from all sides with flash…things that change picture constantly, flit from topic to topic, etc. They are having a harder time focusing for a longer period of time. Focusing on homework and things like Reading require focus for a certain length of time and I believe it makes it harder for them.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Well, I never said don’t help at all. I will say it again. You have to do what you can to teach your children how to learn on their own without hand holding them the whole way through. This is a life skill they will need, and the sooner they learn it the better. If you constantly hold their hand, you are most certainly not doing them any favors. If that means they have to fail a little on their own… then let them. If they are really struggling or are disengaging, then you have to decide when to intervene. I know the types of students that had their hands held. They got good grades all through high school, got into a good university and either flunked out, changed to an easy major or finally learned how to study the hard way. It’s usually a little too late, when it really matters and is unfair to them.

JLeslie's avatar

Children also learn by being shown. Being shown how to research. How to use legitimate sources. This should be shown by the teachers.

Not all homework is research. Some of it is busy work, or practice worksheets from what was taught in class. Maybe they read a book and write a book report or do creative writing. This is more where my head was at about this Q. We are talking about K-5 not high school.

jca2's avatar

I don’t think it’s a black and white answer. There are many theories on teaching. There are many theories on parenting, and there are all kinds of kids who learn better all kinds of ways. Add to that there are all kinds of kids’ temperaments. I think what works one day or one week might not work another week, or another year. What works with one kind of kid might not work with another kind of kid. Everyone here is talking as if there’s one blanket answer. Some kids thrive one way, some thrive another. Be flexible, be there, change it up when necessary.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 You make a lot of sense.

seawulf575's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I agree. It is teaching your children HOW to think, not just WHAT to think. They have to figure out how to solve problems without someone holding their hands all the time.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Question: is it black and white as to what they are supposed to learn in school if they are being given the assignments? Should children not be required to learn to read or write or arithmetic? This is, after all, what we are talking about here. I agree that students learn differently and may never be great in all the courses. But the parents involvement can only help since the parents know their children best and aren’t trying to come up with a solution for all the children in a class.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575 I don’t claim to know all the answers to all of your questions. I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject. I am just saying be flexible and all kids are different, so parents need to go with the flow. Parents may also look back and think they could have done something differently, something better, but at the time, we all do our best, and we deal with the circumstances we deal with. I think I wrote my opinion pretty clearly – be there, be flexible.

Caravanfan's avatar

I just had my daughter look over the question. She said not to help unless the student specifically asks for it.

janbb's avatar

57 answers and only two GQs??

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan Did she say because it usually ends up being stressful or in a fight? Just curious.

When my dad ever tried to help me with homework I often wound up in tears, even if I asked for the help, which was rare. Not because he’s mean, just because of the dynamic.

Caravanfan's avatar

@JLeslie fight? What do you mean? A fight with us about homework? Never.
No, we just didn’t help her unless she asked for it. And when she asked, we’d help.

But I also am a teacher for a living, so I know how to do it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan My dad would try to help and I would get frustrated and wind up upset. It was extremely rare. I didn’t have homework until 4th grade, so I was able to do most of my homework on my own.

My mom helped me more than my dad when I needed help, again very rare, although my mom couldn’t help me with math past 5th grade (that’s what she used to tell me, and it was true).

In retrospect I wish I had asked her for help in history. I hated it, and maybe I would have enjoyed it a little if she was telling me historical events. I didn’t know history was her major until I was an adult.

My parents were overall very hands off with my education.

seawulf575's avatar

I got a call one time from my brother in law. His daughter, who was generally a straight A student, was suddenly struggling with Pre-Calculus. It was stressing her because she couldn’t understand it and her teacher “helped” by telling her he didn’t know what her problem was but that she better get it under control after the break from school. That really sucked as an inspirational speech and only added to the stress.

My BIL said that neither he nor his wife had a clue about pre-calc but thought I might. He asked if I could help her with her homework. So I did. It became quickly obvious what the problem was. She was used to being given a formula and some variables that she could punch into her calculator to get the answer. What she was facing now was “story problems”. She had to first figure out what they were asking and then figure out which formula might apply…something she had never done before. I explained it to her, showed her on one homework problem (I did it), then we did the second one together, then she had it and went on. Her gpa was back on track.

The issue was learning how to think differently from how she had previously been taught. Not hard to identify, but can be hard to do. This was a case where a parent stepped in to help.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Yes, exactly right. That’s an excellent example. Same thing happened with my daughter. She was struggling with precalc word problems and asked for my help. I helped her reframe her thinking and show her how to throw out all the unnecessary words in the problem.

Bootsiebaby's avatar

Yes, I helped my son with his homework and he did well in school.

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