Viw Magazine

  • Written by Melissa Barnes, Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Monash University
There's a delicate balance between helping, and over-helping. from shutterstock.com

Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Parent involvement in their child’s learning can help improve how well they do in school. However, when it comes to helping kids with homework, it’s not so simple.

While it’s important to show support and model learning behaviour, there is a limit to how much help you can give without robbing your child of the opportunity to learn for themselves.

Be involved and interested

An analysis of more than 400 research studies found parent involvement, both at school and at home, could improve students’ academic achievement, engagement and motivation.

School involvement includes parents participating in events such as parent-teacher conferences and volunteering in the classroom. Home involvement includes parents talking with children about school, providing encouragement, creating stimulating environments for learning and finally – helping them with homework.


Read more: What to do at home so your kids do well at school


The paper found overall, it was consistently beneficial for parents to be involved in their child’s education, regardless of the child’s age or socioeconomic status. However, this same analysis also suggested parents should be cautious with how they approach helping with homework.

Parents helping kids with homework was linked to higher levels of motivation and engagement, but lower levels of academic achievement. This suggests too much help may take away from the child’s responsibility for their own learning.

Help them take responsibility

Most children don’t like homework. Many parents agonise over helping their children with homework. Not surprisingly, this creates a negative emotional atmosphere that often results in questioning the value of homework.

Most children don’t love homework. from shutterstock.com

Homework has often been linked to student achievement, promoting the idea children who complete it will do better in school. The most comprehensive analysis on homework and achievement to date suggests it can influence academic achievement (like test scores), particularly for children in years seven to 12.

But more research is needed to find out about how much homework is appropriate for particular ages and what types are best to maximise home learning.


Read more: Too much help with homework can hinder your child's learning progress


When it comes to parent involvement, research suggests parents should help their child see their homework as an opportunity to learn rather than perform. For example, if a child needs to create a poster, it is more valuable the child notes the skills they develop while creating the poster rather than making the best looking poster in the class.

Instead of ensuring their child completes their homework, it’s more effective for parents to support their child to increase confidence in completing homework tasks on their own.

Here are four ways they can do this.

1. Praise and encourage your child

Your positivity will make a difference to your child’s approach to homework and learning in general. Simply, your presence and support creates a positive learning environment.

Our study involved working with recently arrived Afghani mothers who were uncertain how to help their children with school. This was because they said they could not understand the Australian education system or speak or write in English.

However, they committed to sit next to their children as they completed their homework tasks in English, asking them questions and encouraging them to discuss what they were learning in their first language.

In this way, the parents still played a role in supporting their child even without understanding the content and the children were actively engaged in their learning.

2. Model learning behaviour

Many teachers model what they would like their students to do. So, if a child has a problem they can’t work out, you can sit down and model how you would do it, then complete the next one together and then have the child do it on their own.

Instead of watching TV in the evening, set aside time to read a book while your child does their school work. from shutterstock.com

3. Create a homework plan

When your child becomes overly frustrated with their homework, do not force them. Instead, together create a plan to best tackle it:

  • read and understand the homework task

  • break the homework task into smaller logical chunks

  • discuss how much time is required to complete each chunk

  • work backwards from the deadline and create a timeline

  • put the timeline where the child can see it

  • encourage your child to mark completed chunks to see the progress made on the task

4. Make space for homework

Life is busy. Parents can create positive study habits by allocating family time for this. This could mean carving out one hour after dinner for your child to do homework while you engage in a study activity such as reading, rather than watching television and relaxing. You can also create a comfortable and inviting reading space for the child to learn in.

Parents’ ability to support their child’s learning goes beyond homework. Parents can engage their child in discussions, read with them, and provide them with other ongoing learning opportunities (such as going to a museum, watching a documentary or spending time online together).

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Authors: Melissa Barnes, Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Monash University

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-to-help-your-kids-with-homework-without-doing-it-for-them-126192

Has Australia really had 60,000 undiagnosed COVID-19 cases?

A preliminary study, posted online this week by researchers at the Australian National University and elsewhere, estimates 71,000 Australians had COVID-19 by mid-July — 60,000 more than official...

Andrew Hayen, Professor of Biostatistics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Andrew Hayen, Professor of Biostatistics, University of Technology Sydney

How could wearing a mask help build immunity to COVID-19? It’s all about the viral dose

People infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread the virus when they speak, sing, cough, sneeze or even just breathe. Scientists think face masks help limit virus spread by ...

Larisa Labzin, Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland - avatar Larisa Labzin, Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland

the pros and cons of different COVID vaccine technologies

ShutterstockThe World Health Organisation lists about 180 COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world.Each vaccine aims to use a slightly different approach to prepare your immune system to rec...

Suresh Mahalingam, Principal Research Leader, Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics Group, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University - avatar Suresh Mahalingam, Principal Research Leader, Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics Group, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University

Government extends COVID health initiatives at $2 billion cost

The government is extending the COVID health measures for a further six months, until the end of March, in its latest acknowledgement that pandemic assistance will be needed on various fronts for a lo...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

How to clear Victoria's backlog of elective surgeries after a 6-month slowdown? We need to rethink the system

ShutterstockWith the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria continuing to trend downwards, Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday announced a phased restart of elective procedures in public and private hospit...

Stephen Duckett, Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute - avatar Stephen Duckett, Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute

Kim Kardashian's new range of maternity shapewear could exacerbate body image issues for pregnant women

ShutterstockControversy has erupted in recent days over the launch of Kim Kardashian West’s new range of maternity shapewear.Available online from today, the products are part of Kardashian West...

Kassia Beetham, Exercise Physiology Lecturer, Australian Catholic University - avatar Kassia Beetham, Exercise Physiology Lecturer, Australian Catholic University

Understanding the Critical Role of Industrial Design in Product Development

The world abounds with products that are not hastily made but goes through lengthy design and development processes. In today's market, people are looking for items that are not just visually ap...

Ester Adams - avatar Ester Adams

Different Ways to Use your Australian Wool Quilt

Not many people are aware of it, but Australia is one of the leading producers of wool in the world. About a quarter of the total global production of wool, for instance, comes from Down Under. ...

Ester Adams - avatar Ester Adams

Easy Home Makeover Tips Using Soft Furnishings

If your home is starting to feel dull, all you need is a quick makeover. The easiest and most effective makeovers to do in your home are installing a set of new soft furnishings. Updating your c...

Ester Adams - avatar Ester Adams

Writers Wanted



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion