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Drawing the Line on Homework Help

Teachers know how to spot it – over-zealous homework helpers.

Could be that it’s given away by the excessive erasure marks on a math paper or the science project obsessively organized and too “centered” or the history project overloaded with information that the student can’t answer questions about.

Be real about this. This isn’t “helping,” it’s doing their homework for them.

Teachers have a name for you if you’re such parents. You’re a “helicopter parent” if you hover over your child, making sure homework or a project is perfect. And you may be doing more harm than good. The negative effects of “parental homework help” can include bringing down test scores and squelching the independence that is important to the development of learning and study habits.

What does one fifth-grade teacher say to parents when she spots helicopter tendencies? Doing the homework for them, has no reinforcement value whatsoever. “The purpose of homework is to reinforce skills that have been learned in the classroom.”  A child who is struggling with schoolwork can benefit from a parent offering support but suggests that a parent ask the child to say what he/she feels troubled about. “If the student can talk through the problem, his or her work will get better.”

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