The student has a lot of influences in their lives and the teacher and parents play a definitive role. Sometimes the parents and teachers can work in tandem to develop the student, but there are situations that the student hears different messages. Obviously, there are plenty of students who ignore their parents, teachers, or both. Probably the most challenging situation is when the teacher and parents are telling the student different things. This can cause the student to lose confidence in what they are being taught, and in some cases decide that they aren’t going to trust any authority figures. Therefore, it is important for there to be some sort of communication between teachers and parents. Here are a few teachers guidelines for appropriate versus inappropriate parent homework help.
Dedication of time
The most appropriate thing that parents can do is to encourage students to do their homework and dedicate the time that is required. Obviously there are plenty of students who want to avoid their homework or complete their expectations as quickly as possible. Parents can’t be afraid to be the “bad guy” and make sure that they do not enable their students to avoid their homework. If parents were not great students when they were young, they have to be aware of this and make sure their students do not follow in their footsteps.
Support of expectations
Encouraging students to do their homework is part of a broader support of education in general. Homework is intended to emphasize the things that are tough in class and help the student solidify academic concepts. If the parents are not supportive of education in general and do not encourage the student to take a long-term view on education, chances are that the student will start to ignore the expectations set forth by the teacher.
A different viewpoint
There is a challenging issue with homework when the student hears a different perspective from the parents. This can include certain types of content or technique. It is certainly a good thing to hear multiple perspectives, particularly on subjects that do not have simple solutions. However, parents should make sure that they explain their differing perspective in such a way that the teacher is not seen as completely clueless. Parents should avoid saying things like, “Your teacher is just wrong.” Rather, they should allow the student to ask questions and perhaps discover a different perspective through inquiry and research.
Getting ahead of yourself
Sometimes parents will do some level of harm when their intentions were actually good. For example, if a student is working through math homework, the parents may try to teach them a different technique for solving problems. Unfortunately, the parents may be unaware that there is a curricular sequence that is necessary in order to reach a more advanced technique. By “skipping ahead”, the parent may actually confuse the student or skip a number of steps that are necessary in order to understand other concepts.
Too much help
It may seem obvious, but sometimes the teacher has to tell the parents that doing their children’s homework for them does not help the situation. Again, some parents feel like they are just “trying to help” or they might deduce that their child will never have to use a particular concept in “real life.” However, the parent may not grasp that homework isn’t just about mastering certain concepts. Rather, it is about the process of working through challenges so that students can develop a work ethic and perservere through intellectual difficulties.
Obviously, not all teachers are perfect and there are times when the parent may actually have more expertise than the instructor. When that occurs, the parent should do their best to be diplomatic, and allow for both the parents and the teacher to educate their student. Both parents and teachers have to understand their limits and recognize that they should ideally engage in a partnership that will yield a more educated student. The goal is not to compete for the student’s attention. Rather, the goal is to develop the student in such a way that they are able to discern different viewpoints as they engage the world around them.