When parents are interested in their child’s school work, the child is more interested in doing their assignments. Children will benefit as much from knowing that you care about their assignments as as much as for the actual help that you give them. Helping children with school work and science lessons, in particular, is just that, helping them find the answers and not you finding the answers for them. However, your ability to understand the science assignment may be the first problem, you, as a parent face. Children today learn about a lot of what parents aren’t familiar with. How can you help them help themselves with an assignment, and at the same time learn something new for yourself?
First be clear about the assignment. Make sure you understand that the assignment needs facts and not opinions, or the opinions about a certain science discovery, and not facts. Is it written, fill in the blanks, a show and tell project, the creation of a simulated working model of some measuring device for rain water, soil testing or whatever, first must be known. Once these basics are understood, you as a parent are ready to help direct their efforts. What rules guide you when it comes to your child’s homework is a question you must first ask yourself.
You will need rules, no matter the age of the child. Children have an uncanny ability to detect a parent’s weakening when it comes to rules. Concerning homework, where do you draw the line? The age of the child dictates here. As an example, if your child comes home from school with an assignment to gather three leaves from trees and bring them to school, you may have to take a walk with the child and gather the leaves.
While gathering the leaves your child will need to know the tree the leaves came from. Instead of outright telling them about the facts, facts they may soon forget, talk to them about the leaves and the tree. Ask them questions. Notice how the shape of the leaf seems to follow the general outline of the tree, you might mention.
The whole purpose of this school assignment is to introduce them to nature and how things grow. So a parent’s job in situations such as this one is to attempt to enlarge their interest in trees in general. How do leaves differ from each other. What kind of bark on the tree, etc.
Next, when back home, ask them how they are to display the leaves. Let the decision be theirs, although your mind has already raced on ahead and you can see them on a background of a sheet of construction paper with identification underneath in bold print. They may not see it in exactly the same way. Do you insist, or do you let them have it their way? You let them have it their way, it is, after all their assignment.
Or maybe the science assignment is one that needs information on the habits of foxes, or why chickens can’t fly, or what causes snow? How do you help? You get out the encyclopedia and learn the basic facts about foxes, chickens, and snow. Or if the child is old enough to read the information for themselves, as they most likely will be, you let them read the information.
Or better still, you tell them to check for the information on the Internet. Notice here you aren’t suggesting to them that you will check the information for them, but that you are willing to work along with them to guide them in finding the facts they needs. Their Internet researching abilities aren’t sufficient and you do the site searching for them, but once there you let them do the actual work. And if they are computer savvy, they still may need help in their choice of words they use to get the needed information.
You as a parent will ask what in particular they need to know about foxes. And then you suggest to them to write in Google’s search engine box or some other search engine, the habitat of foxes, food for foxes, why can’t chicken’s fly, and what caused snow. Depending on their age, you might also tell them to amend their requests for kids. Example: Why can’t chickens fly + information for kids.
For general information or for a first search online, you might suggest first trying to find information on Science for Kids. And too, this Internet site will help a parent not particularly knowledgeable about science in general, to learn simple explanations for what seemingly are complicated scientific terms.
A bit of warning: Whatever you do, don’t turn the kid loose on the Internet on this site. It has so many jokes for kids, they’ll never get back to doing their homework. If so your child might come home the next day with an unhappy joke. When you ask them what’s wrong, they might say their teacher yelled at them for something they didn’t do. Their homework.