There is a consensus that when it comes to homework, this is something which a child should be left alone with unless they really need help. And certainly it should never be done for them.
When I think back to my own school days, I notice that the kids who tended to be at the top of the class and well-liked by the teachers, generally seemed to be the kids who had parents (whether one or two) at home supporting them through their education. They didn't just leave it to the teachers.
As a mother, we have a huge influence in our children's learning growth. We have a hidden strength that even the best teachers in the world will never have...
We. Will. Never. Give. Up. On. Them.
Our investment to their success in both this world and the next is greater than anyone else. No matter the struggles we face or the adversities that hit us, we will always be there to support and guide them to be the best they can be inshaAllah.
So when it comes to homework (I know I'm a homeschooler, but yep, I'm talking about regular school homework here...and if you are a fellow home educator, then this comes into all our regular studies with them at home too), I want to tell you that helping always helps.
When they were babies, we didn't expect them to learn to crawl, walk, talk or feed themselves without help. Nor did we expect them to try mastering these skills without making bumbling mistakes along the way (which we all in fact thought were so cute!).
Rather, we modelled for them, and they observed. We encouraged them, and they gave it a go. We praised and cooed and jumped in the air with excitement when those first steps were taken and first word was spoken.
Yet when it comes to education, the older a child gets the more we seem to expect that he should be able to do it all by himself.
We forget that much in the same way as everything to a baby is a brand new experience, our growing child's education is brand new too, no matter his age or stage.
Helping helps. Model how to answer homework questions
What would happen if we modelled maths homework the same way we modelled how to talk to our baby?
What would happen if when they are really struggling, we do half the maths problems for them whilst they observe, before giving it another try? Or take it in turns completing one sum each back and forth to the end?
What would happen if we modelled how to construct a written answer for their science homework when they're having a hard time knowing where or how to start? What if we guided them through it?
Would that mean they didn't benefit from the assignment? Would that mean it wasn't their homework? When we help them bake muffins, do we say it isn't their muffins?
Getting a poor grade and loosing confidence in their own ability doesn't benefit, because grades don't show what a child needs to do to improve. It just tells them what they were able to get right, and what they did not.
Teachers don't have the time to give the level of personalised instruction to really benefit each and every single child in the class. Thats why it's not often we find huge numbers of kids raising levels in the classroom beyond what appears to be their natural capability.
But you do.
Even when you think you don't, you can always find 10 or 15 minutes to help coach them through their homework and studies inshaAllah.
What if I don't understand my child's homework myself?
If you don't understand the homework yourself, that's great because here you have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate one of the biggest life skills they will ever need to learn for success, and that is knowing how to learn. Knowing how to find the answer when you don't know it.
So together, go and discover the answer. We're living in an age where information is a click away.
Google and YouTube are full of experts in every field, with many professionals creating free websites or video lessons to teach you almost anything you can imagine for every stage of education.
Believe it or not, even school teachers are there dishing out lessons for anyone who is interested to watch and learn...free!
Always remember you are your child's supporter and champion. Helping them with homework doesn't take away from their learning experience, rather collaborating with them aids and enhances it.
Out in the real world, many of the best ideas come from team work and collaboration. Get on your childrens team.