There is a lot of discussion on my FB page, jokes and not so much about parents doing their kids' homework. That got me wondering about some of those (imo) grey areas when it comes to helping a child complete work. I'm focused mainly on the middle-school years because that seems an age ripe for parent involvement that perhaps goes too far.
Here are a few things that I do on occasion and I'd like to hear opinions on whether you think these are appropriate ways to help a child complete their work.
First let me say that my DC's school does encourage parents to help with HW. I know about and admire the philosophy of letting kids find their own way at this age but I don't think that is the philosophy at this particular school. I also want to say that part of DC's HW is a blog that we can read. It's pretty clear from the blog that some kids are getting far more help (some answers seem very "parent led") than what we are currently doing with DC.
Here are some of the things I do on occasion (and would do more of if I were clear about how appropriate this sort of help is).
- Sometimes I sense that DC is full of ideas and feeling creative and productive but she is a SLOW typer and I will occasionally type and format her thoughts for her. The pros of this are it is neat (which she likes) and she is able to do the creative, expressive work without being hindered by her typing ability. I can also help her think about clarity and the process of thinking and expressing ideas. The cons are that she obviously isn't becoming a better typer, there is some spelling errors that she would make (actually, a lot - her teachers can probably tell that someone typed or heavily edited because DC's grammar is not great).
- When DC is tired but needs or wants to work on a research based assignment I will read to her. For instance she had to do something on Earth science yesterday and I just went through some articles related to the subject and read to her for a while. I didn't feed her the answer (and she came up with a good answer all on her own without leading from me but it was me reading the material - not her).
- When DC has a project that is completed on a software program like Publisher (her group chose to use this) I will often need to help DC understand the inner workings of that program. I find Publisher a little frustrating (moving text, formatting text boxes and etc). DC isn't being given direct instruction on these programs (the kids in her group chose it - not the teacher) so it can be frustrating to work on these programs - the work itself is "easy" but it's the formatting that is frustrating. I have been teaching Publisher to DC but in doing that I wonder if I'm not helping her "race through" the process, which maybe includes suffering through some of these programs...? I don't really know.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, what you do, if you're a teacher what you think about this sort of help. Other suggestions for how to help and etc.