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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework 278

Posted by timothy
from the pinkie-swear dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Dana Goldstein writes in The Atlantic that while one of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children's education — meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, and helping with homework — few parents stop to ask whether they're worth the effort. Case in point: In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement researchers combed through nearly three decades' worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids' academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire — regardless of a parent's race, class, or level of education. Once kids enter middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down, an effect Robinson says could be caused by the fact that many parents may have forgotten, or never truly understood, the material their children learn in school. 'As kids get older—we're talking about K-12 education — parents' abilities to help with homework are declining,' says Keith Robinson. 'Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework.'" (More, below.)
Hugh Pickens continues: "The study did find a handful of parental behaviors that made a difference in their children's education such as reading aloud to young kids (PDF) (fewer than half of whom are read to daily) and talking with teenagers about college plans. 'The most consistent, positive parental involvement activity is talking to your kids about their post-high school plans, and this one stood out because it was, pretty much for every racial, ethnic and socio-economic group, positively related to a number of academic outcomes—such as attendance and marks,' concludes Robinson. 'What this might be hinting at is the psychological component that comes from kids internalizing your message: school is important. '"
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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

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  • Um, right. (Score:5, Funny)

    by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:04PM (#46552111)
    'Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework.'" You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?
    • Re:Um, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ardyvee (2447206) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:06PM (#46552121)

      To be honest my mom never understood some of the things she helped me with. What she did was read the textbook, see what I was having issue with, have me explain to her what I was trying to accomplish and how, and if she still didn't have an insight, she would tell me to ask somebody else. She knew her limitations (perhaps because her education is high school, and a bad one).

      • by Ardyvee (2447206)

        Double posting because can't edit: what I meant with that was that it all matters on whether or not your parent knows their shortcomings or not, and whether or not they realize they have forgotten high school already.

      • Re:Um, right. (Score:4, Informative)

        by mindwhip (894744) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:45PM (#46552737)

        Mine didn't really understand the problems but always got me to explain what I was trying to do, why and how. The act of me explaining taught me to think through things and ultimately solve them myself, one big lesson that works for a lot more than maths.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        To be honest my mom never understood some of the things she helped me with.

        Maybe her parents didn't help her enough with her homework?

        I joke, but I'm half-serious. This seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Parents don't help with with homework, kid never really understands the material, grows up to be another parent who doesn't help with homework. From a control systems standpoint, there are probably two stable points in this system - above a certain threshold helping with homework helps and rein

      • My mom had to work nights as a kid, so I had to stay with my grandma. My grandma didn't help with my homework, but she always checked it after I was finished. She would put little pencil marks next to the problems that were wrong. she only helped when I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong.

        When it came to math, she was old enough that high school didn't really teach her more than basic Algebra, so she learned along with me. I always thought it was cool that she would sit with me and watch how I did
    • Re:Um, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tamran (1424955) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:19PM (#46552211)

      You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?

      This is exactly on point! Sure, having discussions and making students think deeper may affect their quiz/exam scores. However, there are countless examples of how these exams are no more than simulations of real life and how being able to respond to new situations creatively is the true measure of intelligence (sorry, I'm too lazy to bring any references but surely a Google search will reveal countless cases).

      I now teach university undergraduate engineering classes after working in the industry for many years. What I now realize is that the people typically in this role have never worked as an Engineer and have NO CONTEXT to what they're actually teaching. With no context, how can these people be fair at assessment? In reality, either the product ships or it doesn't. But exams often become about solving some tricky problem that is from an 1800's analytical paper. Not to say these case studies aren't relevant, but the point is the objectives of education SHOULD BE some skill set as opposed to scoring high on some exam.

      All that said, I believe the criteria used to make the conclusions in the summary are way off base and also lack context. Parents, don't stop debating with your children about what they're learning. People should balance questioning everything they are told with heuristics and best practices in order to "get things done." Test scores be damned if we can't even assemble lawn furniture at the end of the day.

      • All of my Engineering profs had extensive industry experience. My understanding at the time was that Engineering schools had a long tradition of not employing professors without at least 5 years in industry. Granting that was decades ago. I have a hard time believing things have changed that quickly.

        • And decades ago you could pay for college with a minimum wage job, too. Now engineering departments are filled with foreign adjuncts with accents so thick they could insulate chernobyl and that gives departments an excuse to constantly flunk people and claim they're just "rigorous" instead of shit at teaching.

        • by stoploss (2842505)

          All of my Engineering profs had extensive industry experience. My understanding at the time was that Engineering schools had a long tradition of not employing professors without at least 5 years in industry. Granting that was decades ago. I have a hard time believing things have changed that quickly.

          All but ONE of my engineering profs were "broken eggs" that had PhD's but no industry experience. My "favorite" engineering instructor was a former tech (with only a master's degree) who literally hated engineers. He would go on and on during class about how the engineers he had worked with were cruel to him.

          Then he gave us impossible homework so that he could gloat in class about how we were all stupid (in order to get his rocks off).

          Granted, this was a decade ago, so the change must have been in progress

      • Re:Um, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s.petry (762400) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @03:04PM (#46552833)

        Mostly this, but a bit more since you are missing something I feel is a much larger issue. Common core is the latest example of people not learning concepts so that they can understand the world, but making students memorize and "come close" to answers that someone feeds them.

        Case and point. My son in Elementary school was forced to memorize multiplication tables because it was required (in a bit more than a decade that may have changed, but it was required from the 1950s). The kids were not taught the fundamental concept of what multiplication is, or how it worked. I sat him down and showed him the concept and told him to not use "times" or "multiply" when doing his homework. Instead, I told him to use "groups of" which made perfect sense to a 7 year old. He never had to memorize the table and aced math, but not because government mandated materials and methods worked, but because I taught him what the concepts the school didn't.

        Those types of lessons occurred constantly. Many teachers know the forced methods are broken and fight against it. Teachers often ignore the forced work and methods and their kids get smarter, though in certain areas of the required tests scores can drop.

        It's not simply a matter of having people with real world knowledge teaching. There is very much an issue of the curriculum and required methods being wrong.

        TFA makes me very concerned, because talking to friends I'm not the only one that has taught my kid concepts that schools do not. This seems to be very common, and sending a message out to people to stop teaching their kids is questionable at best. I have a feeling that the statistics were not so much related to parents helping with homework as much as parents doing the homework for the kid (which we know happens) and of course those types of questions would easily skew results.

        • I'm pretty sure that the level of intelligence, grasp of the subject matter and didactic skill of the assisting parent make a lot of difference.

          Considering the quality of those aspects in the average child-rearing adult, it is hardly surprising that their tutoring does little good. Being a good teacher is hard.

        • I believe Common Core is an attempt to fix exactly what you're railing against. Have you looked into it? I'm not trying to Logical Fallacy you here. I'm actually curious. Are you railing against Common Core with some specific thing in mind? Or are you just railing against Common Core because Testing Bad.

          From what I've read about Common Core, it's an attempt to teach actual understanding in math and reading instead of rote memorization for test taking.

          • by Xylantiel (177496)
            I agree. Go look at common core, don't assume you know what it is. A lot of the "criticism" of common core has nothing to do with what is actually in common core. I have looked at the teaching of multiplication and it does some things that seem "weird" but are clearly intended to teach students number concepts, not just rote memorization. Now whether the elementary teacher figures that out is a totally different ballgame - since they may not have a firm number concept themselves and therefare they may n
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Case and point. My son in Elementary school was forced to memorize multiplication tables because it was required (in a bit more than a decade that may have changed, but it was required from the 1950s). The kids were not taught the fundamental concept of what multiplication is, or how it worked.

          False dichotomy. The problem is the latter - you kid's school didn't taught the concept of multiplication, not the former.

          What should be done is to do both - the concepts first, then memorize the table.

        • Re:Um, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:57PM (#46555083)

          what a red herring you posted. how the fuck is someone supposed to learn how to multiply in reasonable time without memorizing the first 9 multiples of our numbering system???

          you say groups, but thats bullshit. there is no way your kid aced math courses when taking the time to add groups of x when there was a much better shortcut available. tables are a good thing, and i dont understand why you said they werent used and dont matter.

              if your kid used your additional tutoring to understand concepts that the curricula taught, then kudos to you, thats how its supposed to go, and perhaps their particular teacher did a shitty job of teaching the material.

          im not a big fan of our educational systems we have in place, but damn, how the fuck did you get modded insightful?

          slashdot/internet/people's intelligence is getting really shitty apparently. =*-(

          as an addendum, i agree that parents are the ones who should take the main role in teaching their kids. thank you for not pushing your responsibility off to the state =-)

      • Re:Um, right. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @04:21PM (#46553317)

        "Test scores be damned if we can't even assemble lawn furniture at the end of the day."

        Even more: test scores be damned if the answers are wrong or the methods taught [freepatriot.org] are nonsensical [eaglerising.com].

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        >What I now realize is that the people typically in this role have never worked as an Engineer and have NO CONTEXT to what they're actually teaching.

        Literally everyone teaching university has experience in their discipline. You don't get to publish papers and get masters and PhD degrees without doing real work, albeit a somewhat contrived sort of work sometimes. And that's why you go on sabbaticals etc.

        The thing is, Masters and PhD's are a particular kind of contrived work, rather than most work which

    • Or the new "Common Core" crap that has the most ass backwards ways of doing simple things like math. http://static.infowars.com/bin... [infowars.com] I have seen people with MS and PHd in math shake their heads over this stuff.
      • I don't know if that is Common Core's fault. Idiots implement the standards and think they make it easier for kids.The high standards are good, the poor implimentation in many districts is not.

      • What the hell is that? did M.C. Esher write that textbook?
      • I would rather have kids understand the quick method you illustrated, instead of considering every problem a rote algorithm.

        I would need to see some context to make sure they are not teaching the algorithmic method later in order to be outraged.

        What you showed is how I do math. Sales tax is two multiplications. Tips are two, even at a flat 20%. This gets me a number quickly, but was never explicitly taught.

        You need to understand the multi year curriculum to have context.

      • by PvtVoid (1252388)

        Or the new "Common Core" crap that has the most ass backwards ways of doing simple things like math. http://static.infowars.com/bin... [infowars.com] I have seen people with MS and PHd in math shake their heads over this stuff.

        The answer is (c). Maybe the people shaking their heads over this stuff have finally succumbed to the brain rot caused by listening to Alex Jones all the time.

        • I only picked the info-wars link because it was the first thing that came up in google images with a static path. Pick one you like more... https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]
        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          My thoughts exactly. The picture itself has no context, and the article [infowars.com] is the usual InfoWars style with lots of supposedly-self-evident cherry-picked anecdotes and no logic*. I'm going to assume that the problem in the picture is actually demonstrating an aspect of the transitive property. The intended solution is the realization that "15 - 5 - 2 = 15 - 7", or to state it as an abstract concept, "numbers represent quantities that may be separated and redistributed". Of course, parents whose education was a

      • The answer is C, you can break 7 up into 5 and 2
        So in your head you can subtract 5 from 15 quickly to get 10, then subtract another 2 to get 8.

        • The answer is C, you can break 7 up into 5 and 2 So in your head you can subtract 5 from 15 quickly to get 10, then subtract another 2 to get 8.

          But if you just subtract 7 from 15 and get 8, you are wrong.

          http://www.corestandards.org/M... [corestandards.org]
          "Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating e

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            Interestingly I was never taught to do addition/subtraction like that but have always done it that way. It helps me to quickly get to something close when estimating and also get more precise by thinking a little more through the steps.

            It's all about limiting the number of steps you have to memorize and being able to break a problem up into a few easier smaller problems.

            • by nbauman (624611)

              Interestingly I was never taught to do addition/subtraction like that but have always done it that way.

              Me too.

      • The Common Core standards in themselves are a vast improvement from the patchwork of state standards that ranged from bad to very bad. The Common Core standards do a decent job focusing the standards on fewer topics allowing for deeper more rigorous learning of the important topics and a focus on understanding, not just procedure. Previous standards tended to focus on facts, recall, and mindless procedural learning, rather than moving higher up the hierarchy of learning to where students can be creative and
      • Base-10 shortcut problem subdivision. It's a trick to speed up mental arithmatic. Not a difficult one. It's questionable how useful mental arithmatic is now when everyone carries a calculator, but as the section is titled 'number sense' I imagine this is probably there to give the younger students something of an intuitive grasp of numbers.

        • by AuMatar (183847)

          It isn't questionable at all. You're not going to bring out your phone for every simple problem in life. Need to make change for a 10? Do you really want to have to take out your phone and type this in? The vast majority of math people need its an order of magnitude quicker to do it in ones head than to do it on a calculator.

          A better argument is that paper and pen math is what's no longer needed, as the problems complicated enough to do that on actually are as fast to type into a computer. But those ar

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Seriously, mental math is something that's always going to be useful as it's a way of developing math sense. Chances are that when you're checking out at the supermarket that you don't tally things up yourselves, but with mental math, you can estimate whether the bill is reasonable.

          What's more, if you're doing mental math regularly, it's both more accurate and faster than whipping out a calculator. And what's more, you always have that option, you can even write down the intermediary steps if you need to.

          As

      • by pla (258480)
        Wow... That strikes me as a great math problem! It requires the student to recognize the fact that the customer has accidentally overpaid with an unnecessary $5 bill on their $8 tab. So naturally, the right answer consists of handing them back their $5, then making the correct change of $2 from a $10.

        Imagine that! And here I had thought this new "common core" would leave our snowflakes even less prepared for the exciting world of retail sales and customer service than before... But, I clearly stand cor
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        That's an easy way of finding the answer. It's essentially a base-5 version of math. The problem is that it might help some of the lower-end of average students to learn, but won't help the lowest learn, and will be an impediment for the upper students (but they'll figure it out on their own). So something like this is the natural result of NCLB where the 15th to 50th percentiles get 80% of the focus, and the top 50% get no attention, unless they drop, and the bottom 15% are exempted from the rules (spec
        • So something like this is the natural result of NCLB where the 15th to 50th percentiles get 80% of the focus, and the top 50% get no attention, unless they drop, and the bottom 15% are exempted from the rules (special needs).

          Where did the other 20% of the focus go?

    • by PvtVoid (1252388)

      You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?

      I sure would like to hear an example of what kind of "blatant error" you're talking about. For every parent that points out that centrifugal force is just as real as any other force, there will be ten who deny evolution or climate change.

      Perhaps this is the main effect driving the study: the majority of parents in America are half-educated nitwits, and any involvement from them will only cause damage to their child's education.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I agree. 6000 years old? That can't be right. They have been saying that for many years now. It should be 6025 or something like that.

    • by Java Pimp (98454)

      I still can't believe they are teaching that Pluto is not a planet! WTF? And don't even get me started about brontosaurus...

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      What I do is first ask my daughter if this is something the teacher covered in class. It usually is, and this will often get her explaining it enough to where she basically answers the problem on her own, much to her delight. At the same time, there's been a real shift in how math is being taught, and sometimes she'll have homework on stuff that hasn't been covered in class. The teacher (who seems to hate the system), says it's supposed to be an attempt at getting them to think about problems before form

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        I think having them thinking about how something might work before feeding it to them is the best way to teach. When you figure it out for yourself, you'll remember it better. Even when you don't, you'll understand it better when you are taught, because you've already started thinking in terms of principles. My absolute most effective courses in college all worked like that- homework would start testing what we learned in a lesson, then lead into the concepts for the next one. This is how you teach peo

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Your snark aside, most likely it means doing the kids' homework rather then offering advice. Science Fair projects, term papers, college application essays.
  • Or maybe.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:09PM (#46552147)

    Parents help with homework, kids never learn how to solve problems by theirself.

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l2718 (514756) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:23PM (#46552243)

      Homework -- self practice -- is where you actually learn the material. When parents do their kids' homework, the kids lose the opportunity to learn the material for themselves.

      This isn't to say that students don't need help. Rather, they need help thinking through the material instead of the "help" of being told the solution.

      • by lonOtter (3587393)

        Homework -- self practice -- is where you actually learn the material.

        I never bothered to do any homework, yet was far beyond any of the other students, who didn't understand why anything worked. That's because all the busywork assignments just had you doing the same thing over and over; they were just rote exercises, and didn't have anything to do with understanding.

        That is not true learning.

      • by gnupun (752725)

        When parents do their kids' homework, the kids lose the opportunity to learn the material for themselves.

        TFA isn't about parents doing children's homework, but rather about discouraging them to help their children complete it. There's a big difference. Suppose a kid who barely understands whole numbers and addition comes across a homework problem he has very little understanding:
        -2 + 5 = ?
        Who's going to help him?

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Yep, most of the time "help" means that the parents do the stuff instead of the kids.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:10PM (#46552155)

    You had better get any information you want into your kids head before puberty.

    After puberty, they lose the ability to listen to parents.

  • Could it be.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:17PM (#46552195)
    That the kids who did well without help didn't *need* help because they were smart self-starters? Yeah, maybe that's it.
    • Let's just hope this article doesn't go viral like Andrew Wakefield's B.S. vaccine "study" and fuck up another generation of children.
  • Common Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:20PM (#46552219) Homepage Journal

    If your kid is stuck on something, help him out.

    If you don't know how to help him out, then admit that. In any subject where the results are objective you can look at the practice section if you have any doubts about your ability to be helpful. If you're both stuck help him formulate the question(s) to ask the teacher, if he's having trouble doing that on his own.

    Don't do your kids' homework for them.

    Next article.

  • There is also a subjective element to a lot of courses. A parent might think they know the answer to a question, but if you weren't in that teacher's class, know their take, their biases, even how they like things formatted, you could do more harm than good. The correct answer on a test is what the marker thinks the correct answer is, not what you think, not some absolute (except in hard sciences and math perhaps, but even there tread carefully).

  • Is it possible that the one swho needed help were more likely to seek their parents help, then ones already aceing the tests?

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:26PM (#46552271)
    not because the material's hard, but because it builds and builds and builds. If you're not taking the course along with your kid you're not gonna pull it off.

    What I hate seeing is these schools giving 4+ hours of homework a night. It's damn near impossible to do all that. The US economy is crashing due to outsourcing and blind faith in Free Trade, and everyone's trying to figure out what to do that doesn't involve stuff that's politically impossible (like Tariffs and an end to Work Visas for people w/o a PHD and a large body of work). So far the solution seems to be to overwhelm children with tests and homework...
  • I guess it depends on the parent but homework seems to something that involves parents with their kids lives you know where they talk to them.

    I think that beats sitting in front of the TV and just providing meals and a change of clothes. It also involves the parents with the kids progression through school. Teachers don't really have enough time in a lesson to make sure the kids are actually learning what they are supposed to be learning.

    It seems to get worse as the kids get older, teachers tend to become b

  • It is probably more likely, that while the parents can help the kid understand the material, they have a slightly different method and syntax to doing so than the teacher. And in my experience teachers ask for students to use their exact method and syntax or fail them. Tests are most often used to test method, not actual results. I have had teachers who would give you 80-100% just for using the method they wanted you to use, even if you get the wrong result; And similarly maybe give you 20% if you got the r

  • They send kids home with homework in first grade nowadays. A lot of the instructions for the homework is hard for an adult to read. There's no way kids can even know what they're doing unless an adult instructs them.
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Not for my first grader. His homework was writing the letters and numbers, and not much else. He didn't need any help to know that he should copy "c" on the page marked "c". He couldn't read instructions yet, but didn't need to. It was repetition practice of what was already covered that day.
      • Well the stuff they send home my nephew has word problems. How is a dude supposed to do word problems when he hasn't learned to read yet? And some of the words they use confuses even his family trying to help him.
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          They did the same with my nephews. The homework would be done by the parents. I moved school zones (outside the US) to get to a place with higher rated schools. The work is much more age appropriate and without an obvious eye on some upcoming standardized test.
          • For the most part homework isn't done by the parents. He needs to know what he's instructed to do. We encourage him in the thinking skills encouraged. You know how it is with math, there's a zillion ways to do a problem, but you teach the kid the most basic version first, then give him new tools in the arsenal.

            I just remember when I was in first grade kids didn't get homework. I actually had to ask my teacher for homework because I was stoked for school, but maybe it's not best for every kid coming
  • by J Story (30227) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:23PM (#46552619) Homepage
    And yet, homeschooled kids tend to outperform their bricks-and-mortar peers. According to the study, homeschoolers do slightly worse when their parents are teachers. My own suspicion is that when parents do their kids' homework, the kids don't bother learning what they don't need to.
  • If we chose to have kids I'd certainly help them. Why? Because during my education I received what I consider a quality education. More in the math and sciences though I do enough editing of manuscripts and such that I could probably get them used to the right way of doing it and have many aruments with teachers.

    But on the math side, I'm all over the common standards movement. To the point where I read the standards for math and agree with most of it and also added that we should start in 2nd or 3rd grad
  • It is easy to confuse causation with correlation. Without an experiment, causation cannot be shown. Data suggests correlation only. To a person whose never taken a statistics course (a statistics course should be mandated for all students, would decrease people's gullibility), said data might look as though the parents that help with homework CAUSE poorer test scores. To someone who's used to seeing this causation fallacy, I see a possibility that kids who are doing poorly in school are more likely to b
  • I used to work in a tutoring center at my college, and something that came up more frequently than not was the students would show up with their homework, and tutors would end up giving them answers rather than teaching them how to find the answers themselves. I imagine that this kind of data might be highly related, since it's exactly what you'd expect if a parent is "helping" with homework by providing answers instead of real insight into the topics.
    • There has to be a rather large group of the population where they had this happen to them a lot; probably starting with their parents and continuing on up. They end up thinking this is how it is done. I've had some play stupid simply because they had learned it was easier to filibuster the process instead of actually thinking it out for themselves. It wastes so much time while they try to wear you down so you give them the answer. It's like a child pulling some trick they learned; but it is an adult play

      • Probably a majority of the parents would do this. After being there for a couple months, I realized that when new students came in I should take the first 15 minutes to figure out if they're going to even try to learn. I couldn't refuse to tutor them if they made it seem like they wanted help, and students were very good making it look like they were getting help instead of answers, so it was easier to just figure out what they wanted and give it to them under the guise of "learning". It was very rare that
  • by dave562 (969951) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:35PM (#46552695) Journal

    Helping with homework is such a broad subject that stretches from answering the occasional question, to doing the assignment for the kid. Based on my limited experience, the important thing to keep in mind is helping the child develop good behaviors. Show the child that doing homework is important by setting time aside every day for homework. Be engaged with the kid and communicate with them about what is going on at school. Give them some flexibility. "What order do you want to tackle your homework in?" "Do you want to go 30 or 45 minutes between breaks?" "How much of this semester long project do you want to get done this week?"

    Homework is less about mastering subject matter and more about developing good habits. Kids go to school "all day". Parents definitely work all day. Those are jobs. The people who excel in their professions are the people who put in the extra effort. Professionals who put in the extra effort usually do it because they are fortunate enough to enjoy their profession. Kids do not get that perk. They are stuck with the subjects they have to learn. A parent who comes home from work and "tunes out", implicitly communicates to the kid that doing so is acceptable behavior. The parent who comes home and helps the kid with homework sets the example that just because they've "put in their 8 hours", it does not mean that they are done with their responsibilities.

    Those of us who work in IT inherently set examples of strong work ethics, by being on call all the time. The challenge is to balance the work responsibility with finding time for the family. In most cases, having the discipline to not check emails for 2 hours while helping the kid with homework helps to establish healthy boundaries with employers as well.

    One last perk... it helps you get laid. Oddly enough, mothers are turned on by men who help their children succeed. Go figure.

    • Show the child that doing homework is important by setting time aside every day for homework.

      What about teaching them that living a life outside of school/work is important? Won't the first lesson tend to conflict with the second.

  • Make sure they don't have a fucking crazy teacher who terrorizes them all day.(I had one that actually hated, I'm not making this up, smart kids. I only realized this years afterwards when I noticed my friends, who were the smart kids in that class, would individual say that she hated them. She hated me too and she hates every single one of the smart kids. Wait a minute, she didn't hate me, she just hates smart kids. She's a fucking kook.) If I ever have kids I'm definitely keeping my eye on them so that do
  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @03:11PM (#46552873)

    If you want the exact opposite effect, homeschool your kids. This makes you far more involved in their education and lives plus they do far better than public school kids. One of the big benefits of homeschooling is that we don't have to have any arguments about what we're going to teach, no creationism vs evolution. We teach real science. We do real research. Homeschooling has been great, for us.

    YMMV so do what you please.

  • Did they take into account that they were engaged in an *observational* study?

    The treatments students received weren't likely independent of how well the students were doing in the first place - i.e. when your kid does poorly, this prompts you to help him, so that this would increase positive correlation for receiving help from your parent and doing poorly.

  • ..It's possible to teach your kids how to check your answers once they're made, like plugging the answers back into the equations, graphing results, etc. You can minimize errors this way and teach intuition.. You can teach a rigorous methodology that may otherwise not be stressed in school for checking your results, significant figures, etc. There is also always more than one way to solve a math or physics problem..

    It's also highly useful to reach context, and relevance. Concrete real-world examples m

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