Do You Ever Stop Helping Your Kids with Homework?

Updated on December 01, 2011
E.E. asks from Miami, FL
21 answers

I am not sure if I am baby-ing them but I check my kids homework. They are 8 and 9. After they are done with HW I check it and make sure they are all right then mark the wrong ones and have them try again until the whole HW sheet is done. I have heard about other parents not doing that. I had a talk with one of my kids saying that eventually I wont be helping them with HW and that it will eventually be their job to make sure everything is correct. Now I am starting to wonder if others check/ed HW and if you did stop checking, at what age did you stop? OR if you still do and they are over 10 I would LOVE to hear from them aswell. :)

I try to help explain HW problems they are having a hard time with, short of giving the answer but sometimes I just write a note on the HW that my son/daughter is/was having a hard time understanding how to work the problem(s) out and that my help was not helping.

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So What Happened?

I have seen many responses from never stop being involved to more of a "show your kids to be independent" standpoint..... I see both points and agree with both. I want my kids to feel like I care about helping them when they are in trouble (hoping they would learn that is is ok to need help in school and out of school) I also want them to be independent. So I have talked to them and said that they need to give it their best shot and if they still need help they can come and ask and I firmly explain that they should NOT expect me to give them the answer.

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answers from Asheville on

My dad helped me with my math homework all the way into my senior year of high school. I even had him help me with college math over e-mail or the phone at times. However, that's because he knew that my math abilities are only slightly more advanced than Mom's (she couldn't get past pre-algebra) and if I didn't have help I might not have gotten through school despite being advanced in everything else. I have a learning disability in that area alone and I hate the subject, although I always tried.

Mom helped me learn multiplication and division when I was 9, although she had to resort to using my fear of being slapped on the head again (she got frustrated with my inability to learn it and the result was being hit on the head; she has anger issues). I once had her help me with a project because I couldn't get the wheels on the motorcycle drawn right (I was doing a project on "The Mouse and the Motorcycle"). I also needed her help when making a family tree.

As for me, I teach and like helping people all the time, so I help with homework without doing it for them. Doing it for them would defeat the point of being a teacher. Math, however, is completely left to others unless it's the really simple stuff.


answers from Norfolk on

They do take it over on their own sooner or later.
Certainly by middle school which is 6th grade where we are.
While they are in elementary school you do exactly as you are doing right now and they should be getting fewer and fewer wrong as they progress.
If they are consistently having problems, then they might need some extra help in understanding a subject and a tutor might be needed.
It's important that they learn to ask for more help (from the teacher) if they are not understanding something.

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answers from Austin on

I allowed our daughter to do her homework without me checking from the beginning. I just made sure it was completed. The reason?

I wanted her teachers to see what she was having trouble with.
I also wanted our daughter to be given her real grade.

If she needed or wanted help, we gladly helped her. But I never went through it to check instead it was to see what they were learning.

At her elementary school they also encouraged us to only have the children work on each piece of homework for a certain amount of time.

This meant actually sitting and working on it. Not including snacks, potty etc. IF the child was not able to complete it, we were to sign it and write on it how much time the child spent on it up to that point..

Again, this was so the teachers could see what pace the students were doing their work.

IF you wanted your child to finish (some kids just take longer) then we were to write the true amount of time it took.

I quit asking our daughter if she had homework once she was in second grade, only becsause we all knew she always had homework.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I check homework, but I give it back unmarked and say "there are items which are wrong on here...if you slow down, you'll find them."

I only look it over one time. Teachers don't want to know how parents are doing, they send homework home so the child can practice. It's important that the teacher get an accurate representation of how your child is doing WITHOUT YOUR HELP so they can assess them and identify their needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I never checked the HW and gave it back to daughter to re-do for the same reasons Laurie A answered...

As a teacher, the teachers need to know what level of work the student can do. If mom/dad correct it nightly, then the student may be placed in a higher more challenging level than they actually need to be.

Our daughter is now in 11th grade and she has rarely needed to do HW at home because she is resourceful and gets it done at school when the teachers give opportunities to work independently. Now that she is in 11th grade, she does have more challenging work and a lot of projects due to the AP and honors classes.

Students have to learn that it is theor responsibility to get the HW and projects done or face the consequences which sometimes result in a lower grade. We have always told our daughter that quality work is important, not sloppy thrown together HW, etc. My daughter told me.... Why would I skip HW when it is due because that is an easy way to keep high scores in the class that could offset a mess up on a quiz and helps keep the grade up.

I don't think it is wrong to help them as far as guiding them but not to "do too much" for them..... as a teacher, sometimes it is obvious that mom/dad is doing HW because the level of work some students do in class is far different from the HW quality.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I help my kids but refuse to give the answer.

Now my daughter (8) is struggling this year for the first time ever. Her 3rd grade teacher is difficult also, but I email him almost daily. He is quick to respond and that helps.

I will always check to make sure they are doing it right. I don't necessarily correct it, but guide them in the right direction.

My 6 year old is struggling with reading and writing, so he needs to rewrite words sometimes. I will assist in reminding him about that, and we are working with the teacher also.

Helping your kids is GOOD. I ask my boss questions all the time. I can't imagine if she told me no just because she answered it 6 months ago and I forgot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is proven that the students that get quality help at home as you are doing, do better in are not doing it for them but helping to make sure they understand the work and complete it correctly.....good job mom!!!! BTW, I am a homeschool mom...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Do you ever? Well, my mum would answer no. I'm 32. I just spent the past week pumping her for information, brainstorming, bouncing ideas off of, venting...

It's a college course.

In college:
- Study Groups
- Tutoring Center
- Office Hours
- Writing Lab
- Early Assignment Dates (where you turn in your work to have it thrashed out and 'graded' by the teacher so you can re-do it)
- Group Projects
- Open Book Tests
- etc.

In K12, though, kids are somehow supposed to be smart enough NOT to have any help. I don't get the concept.

But then, again, I was raised in a family that "afterschooled" to use the modern term. Papers were always read and edited, topics discussed over dinner... HW wasn't just checked, rechecked, retaught if necessary... it was treated as the single most interesting thing of the day.

I come from a very collegiate family on my mum's side. Lots of doctors, scientists, artists, a couple lawyers... It's pure second nature that EVERYTHING in the mental arena is brought up and tossed around. Whether it's a diagnosis, surgical options and outcomes, ongoing studies, the merits of one case agaist another, arguments, thesis topics or k12 topics like why we still teach that Lewis & Clark were the first explorers when we had two AMBASSADORS who signed over 300 treaties come first, two ways to do a math problem, the points of canonical literature over others, shall v will, the Halocaust, root words, geography...

...If it's being learned or being done, in my family of origin, it's being helped with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughters are 8 and 9 and I help them. I explain the hard problems if they need help and I check their homework. Both of their teachers stated at the beginning of the school year that there was no reason for them not to make 100% on their homework because both teachers wanted the parents to check the homework and go over it with their child. It also helps because you might explain it in a different manner that is easier for them to understand. It is also repetition of what they hear at school, which helps the concepts to "sink in" more. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I do exactly what you do. My son is 9. I have been wondering when *I* get to stop doing homework too! I also send notes if he is having a hard time with something. I like the idea of checking and if he got any wrong to make HIM figure out which ones they are. Especially if it's just a silly mistake. Hmmm...may have to try that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We don't check the HW, but we help with it. My wife and I have strengths in different subjects, so our 11yr old knows don't come to me with any math questions lol.
I don't see anything wrong with it checking or helping.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

There are certain items that need to be checked over and therefore, I look over those.. e.g. Math and Science. Whereas, Spelling and Grammar, he tends to get A s, so usually I don't have to look over that stuff... However, I NEVER leave it up to his teacher entirely... They have a system whereby you can view your child's weekly grades online and whenever I see a grade that looks out of line of my son's capability, I email the teacher. They have the system in place so that parents take more of an active role and don't leave it up to others.. Kids have to be monitored.. In the long run, I believe the education of my child is up to me and not the school system... and if there is ever a problem , I try and get it rectified right away.. I don't wait until report cards to figure out if there is a problem or not. by then, it's kinda late..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think the level and the type of help changes over the years depending on the educational abilities of the child. In the early years, we used to practice spelling words and math facts and spent a lot of time reading together. As they got older, they assumed more and more of the responsibility of their homework. I would take more of an interest in oversight if i knew they were having a problem in that class or if I had a child that didn't do the homework they were assigned or took too many shortcuts. I would also monitor homework closely if I had questions about what was going on in a class.

Also, in high school, my kids would also ask me to proofread their major papers before submission (after they had used spellcheck). If they had a research project to do, we would often discuss the topic at the family dinner table, present different views and suggest research sources. They would always check in if they were stuck, but I let them do it on their own. When they were away at college, they would email papers (occasionally) for mom to proof or to make suggestions when they were "short" on the number of words for an essay. Now I just get to proof their resumes and make suggestions about how to edit it to fit in the allotted space!



answers from Dallas on

I only check my 13 year old son's essays, because he does them so fast. I will stop that soon though, as I know he needs to be responsible for the mistakes and learn from the consequence of them.



answers from Dallas on

Ok, several other teachers have responded, and I feel the need to do so as well. It is great that you are checking your children's homework. You are making sure that they understand it. If they don't, you are able to provide one on one attention to teach them how to do the assignment. As many people have said, you don't do the work for them, but helping them when they are struggling is certainly ok. Homework is typically a review of what is done during the school day. It should not be new material. You don't want your child to work a series of problems incorrectly. You are giving them the opportunity to relearn the concept correctly. I never took a grade on homework (other than projects) because parents were encouraged to go over homework with their children. Homework is extra practice and not necessarily a fair assessment of how they are doing (since some students receive support at home and others do not).
I must tell you that I have a 13 year old step daughter that is now struggling in math. She is not understanding the material in class and is on the verge of failing. She is going to start coming over to our house a few times a week to work on math homework with us. That way we can reteach what she has been learning in school. I don't see why most parents would not encourage this. If your child is struggling, help them. I hope I have helped. You are doing a great job!



answers from Honolulu on

My son is in Kinder.
I sit with him as he does his homework.
I don't do it FOR him, but I sit as he does it.
If he needs help, I help him AND explain AND explain the why's to things.
He is 5.

My daughter is in 4th grade.
She does homework independently.
IF she needs help, I help and explain things too.
I don't do it FOR her, but I help.

To me, that is what a parent is. It is not 'babying' the child.
My Parents did the same for me.
It ALSO... enables the parent... to KNOW where their child stands academically/what is going on in school/what their child is doing well at, etc. Which to me, is a parent's role, to know that.
And the only way you can know that, is by, checking their homework or helping. Which is DIFFERENT, than doing it for them.

If a homework is not completed or there are mistakes, per my 4th grader, then she goes to school with it incomplete and/or with its mistakes, and will explain to the Teacher why. She is at the age, where she is responsible. But I also communicate with her teacher, when need be.
THAT is what both my kids' Teachers, APPRECIATE... SO that, they know as Teachers, that the child's parent is on par, too. With knowing... what is going on with their child in school and their child's progress.

On the other hand, my Husband, his parents NEVER EVER, helped with homework nor even looked at what he brought home, nor did they even know what he did in class nor what he was learning. Nor did they know, the subjects nor the classrooms routines, nor notes home.
AND... he hated that, about his parents. Because, it was as though, they did not care. Nor did it teach him anything...except that.. his parents were never there, for him... as a student.
So now, with our kids, HE IS THERE... with them, if/when they are doing homework and he is a participatory, parent.
THAT is the example... he wants to provide his kids. Since he NEVER had that... and had parents that just was hands-off, with school work and school, period.

Being involved and knowing what your child is doing in school, is not 'babying' them. It is keeping tabs on everything... so that , you know about your child. Which is different than hovering over them or doing it for them or not letting them make mistakes.



answers from Dallas on

I wanted to say, that I do the same thing that you do. My girls are 5, 8, 10. I check the homework once they've completed it. I encourage them to recheck it as well because I want them to get into the habit. If I see a wrong answer I mark it and then have them rework the wrong problems. I then review it again. They usually get it right the second time. However, if they are struggling with a question we talk thru it a step at a time, to try and explain it. I'll do it as long as they need it. I want them to feel confident that they can do the work. Also if they're reading a chapter book for a quiz, I'll have them read to me. Those stories are sometimes really interesting, plus it helps them to develop their speaking skills. I then ask them questions at the end of each chapter.

Good job, keep it up Mom.



answers from Dallas on

My grandmother never stopped helping and checking my homework. It is extremely important to be involved with your kids' school work. I think that's a big part of the problem with kids these days. Keep it up Mom! Even if they don't need the help or checking, it is still beneficial to be so involved (:



answers from Dallas on

I stopped checking their homework in 3rd or 4th grade. I feel that the teachers need to know where the children are having issues so they can focus on it in class. Chances are they are not the only one that is having the problem and how will the teacher know your child doesn't know how to do something if they continually get every answer to every question correct? I know homework doesn't count as a grade right now at school, but will change as they get into middle and high school. But I still believe they need to know how to do it or the teacher needs to know they don't know how to do it. Don't get me wrong, I quiz them for their test, if they ask for help or having difficulty with something we help them. But if they think they know it, we don't recheck it every night. They know what they need to do and get it done. It teaches them that time management and that homework is important and their responsibility, not mine. I'm also the parent that will not do my kids projects for school. I will guide them, but they have to do the research and reports, etc. Teachers definitley know when the parent does the project since they see the kid everyday in class. Just my 2 cents ;-)



answers from Minneapolis on

My views on this subject are mixed, and I struggle with this as well.

I do the same thing you are doing on math worksheets. But I stop after 4th grade. My girls did not/do not struggle in elementary math, but I wasn't going to 100% count on the teacher/school system to make sure they weren't going to fall through the cracks either. I have to say some teachers are definitely stronger than others, and unfortunately some aren't going to do much to motivate kids who are capable of doing better. If you're confident your kids work IS being corrected and any trouble areas are given more appropriate attention at school, you can probably stop correcting it. If your child happens to have a teacher with poor feedback and follow up, by all means make sure you are monitoring it. With my oldest my checking was also good for her because it taught her she needs to slow down and pay close attention or she was just going to have to redo it anyway. She almost always understood the concepts and was easily capable of getting the right answer, but often had some careless mistakes.

Now my oldest is in middle school. I do not check her work at all. She is not naturally talented at spelling, but she knows to use spell check. And she has learned if she gets careless, her scores drop. In fact I'm struggling with her drop in grades right now, but I'm forcing myself to only check her online grades weekly. This is the time SHE needs to become responsible for herself. Now I KNOW I coddled too much checking she had every little detail completed in elementary because she is still new at time management and organizing it all 100% herself, and it is a challenge. There is no way I could possibly micromanage the workload she has now in 7th grade. There is something to be said about stepping out of managing making sure nothing is forgotten in elementary school. If they experience some learning and failure early, they'll be better prepared when it gets harder.



answers from Dallas on

I taught 5th grade and i think what you are doing is wonderful. What you are telling them is that homework is important and that doing good, quality work is important. Your showing them that you value school work.

You didnt mention projects - the only issue I had with parents "helping" students with homework is when it came time for a student to turn in a project of some sort (say, science fair) and the parent came walking in proudly with the very fabulous project which they "helped" complete. Students who do their own work learn more from doing it than ones who get signifcant help from parents. There initial work may be messy and not so great, but they have ownership because its is their work, and they learn from mistakes and improve.

However - it does NOT sound like you are helping too much. Just right!

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