Parent Involvement with Homework

Is your child relying too much on you for her homework?
From kindergarten through fifth grade, my daughter has maintained straight A's on report cards. She now completes her homework independently. I review her work regularly and am critically aware that she has a weakness in the area of taking the time to read carefully.

When I review her work, I take note of incorrect answers and have her revisit the problem. Usually, she catches her mistake. If not, we walk through reading the problem together carefully and she finds her error. Some of my friends think I'm too involved. I think I'm helping to build a missing skill. What do you think?

By relying on you to catch errors, your daughter has not yet gained the independence that she should have in handling her homework. In fact, she may be using your help as a crutch, if it allows her to work carelessly with the expectation that you will catch any errors. Without your help, she will probably resolve to be more careful with her homework as she is obviously capable and motivated to do well in school.

Besides not always taking the time to read her homework assignments carefully, is there any other evidence that your daughter is a careless reader? Has any teacher ever noted this failing to you? Over the years, do your daughter's reading scores on standardized tests show any problems? If not, your daughter is probably a bright child who is simply hurrying through her homework. Should your daughter have some reading weaknesses, a few sessions with a tutor or learning center should put her on the right track.

Don't just stop reviewing your daughter's homework all at once. Talk with her first about how your role in getting her homework done should be lessening. Point out the importance of her learning to catch her own errors in order to insure continued academic success in high school and college when your help will be less available. Be sure to tell her how pleased you are about the way she handles her homework. Finally, explain that it is now more appropriate for you to offer assistance only when she truly needs it rather than reviewing all her work.

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

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