As a parent, you probably feel partly if not completely responsible for your child’s growth and educational success. You are constantly being inundated with differing opinions, studies, articles and research on the best methods for ensuring a fruitful future for your child. In a world where there is just so much information, how are you to determine the best way to support your child’s growth?
I want to help...
Well, there is bad news and good news but both will help you formulate a successful strategy. The bad news is that every child is unique - the good news is that every child is unique! You will need to find your own way in supporting your child through trial and error. Through strong communication and working as a team, you and your child will be able to refine your techniques and build your awareness of how to best support your child. The bottom line is that every child’s educational journey is unique; however, there are a number of approaches and tips that I can share about supporting your child in their development. In order for these tips to best suit your family, you will need to take these tips and make them your own.
One effective way to involve yourself in the educational success of your child is through homework. A parent’s involvement in homework has proven to develop positive learning behaviors in children. By taking an active role in your child’s homework you can help your child build valuable traits such as:
- self confidence
- adventuring beyond comfort zones
- valuing education1
When you spend time with your child during homework, it creates positive opportunities for your family and allows you to become a part of your child’s educational journey. Effectively involving yourself during homework results in staying up-to-date with what your child is learning, creates moments of connection, triggers deeper exploration of concepts and most importantly, increases your child’s absorption of content - enhancing future recall.
Ok, so how do I involve myself...
The good news is that the quality of your support has a bigger impact on the outcome then the number of hours you spend taking part in your child's homework1. It's not a marathon! Studies conclude that being strategic in your support will lead to better results then spending numerous hours instructing your child on how they should complete their work.
So, what does strategic support look like? Here are some tips that will not only help you bond with your child but will help cultivate their interest in life long learning.
First, think about who is assigning the homework...
Well teachers of course … so my first tip is to be in communication with your child’s teachers - stay involved and be current with what is going on in their classrooms. Like Hatch's Family Dashboard, many teachers use different platforms for sharing assignments, units and other classroom happenings. Find out if your child’s teachers have channels of communication and stay informed. If they don't, you may want to inquire why not!
Second, be a lazy parent...
Do your best not to take control. Keith Robinson, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas explains that parents have a tendency to take control rather than discussing it with their child first2. Remember, you and your child are a team and your objective is to be the manager you wish you had at work.
It is key to spend more time talking to your child about their homework than actually doing the homework with them. When your child completes their homework on their own it’s building their independence. This does not mean you should not be involved - just avoid being that micro-manager. Your priority is to create an environment at home that is conducive to self-learning as per your child’s needs. Some approaches include3:
- scheduling homework time
- limiting distractions
- taking an interest and asking critical-thinking questions
- engaging and having meaningful discussions
- encouraging your child to share their thoughts
- providing the materials needed for success
Come observe our coaches at Hatch. They support students through the process of individual learning - they do not provide the answer on a silver platter - the student needs to work for the answer. Coaches ask thought provoking questions, show interest and provide a positive environment for learning. To inspire lifelong learning, the journey to the solution is more important than the solution.
How you involve yourself is more important than simply being involved. Stay tuned in with your child’s teachings, support your child by showing interest and engage them with questions - don’t do their homework1. Go ahead and ask your child to teach you the content! Although you may need to hold yourself back, avoid the desire to control the homework process and resist the temptation to complete their assignments. Be lazy and let your encouragement, involvement and dedication do your work - your child will complete the homework and more importantly, they will grow.
Want to learn more, check out the useful tips and tricks for parental involvement in homework at: parents.com4.
1. Hamlin, Daniel. “Should Parents Help Their Kids with Homework?” Phys.org, Phys.org, 29 Aug. 2019, phys.org/news/2019-08-parents-kids-homework.html.
2. Pawlowski, A. “Why you shouldn't help your kids with their homework” Today, Today.com, 28 Apr.2014,https://www.today.com/parents/why-you-shouldnt-help-your-kids-their-homework-1D79558306
3. Learning-Liftoff-Staff. “Should Parents Help Their Kids with Homework?” Learning Liftoff, 19 Jan. 2018, www.learningliftoff.com/should-parents-help-their-kids-with-homework/.
4. “Homework.” Parents, www.parents.com/kids/education/homework/.
5. Hoover-Dempsey, Kathleen V., et al. “Parental Involvement in Homework.” Educational Psychologist, vol. 36, no. 3, 2004, pp. 195–209., doi:10.1207/s15326985ep3603_5.
6. Janet Goodall (2013) Parental engagement to support children's learning: a six point model, School Leadership & Management, 33:2, 133-150, DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2012.724668