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Should you help with homework?

Helping your kid with homework could do more harm than good.

 

By Stephanie Yeo
magyoungparents@sph.com.sg

The kids are back to school today and I no longer have the luxury of an extra half-hour of sleep in the morning. But what they and I dread more than the morning school rush-hour is… homework.

One of the first words that come out of my mouth when I return home on weekdays is: “How much homework do you have? Have you finished it?”
 
My kids are used to my nagging, but I suspect they don’t appreciate my efforts in trying to help them with their homework. Like when I turn on my "editor" mode and critique their work:
 
Son: “Mummy, read my compo. Is it good?”
Me: “Umm, it’s okaaaay. This part of the story doesn't make sense; the transition from here to here...hey why is this capital letter in the middle of this sentence? And this word is spelt wrongly...your ‘a’ looks like an ‘s”, by the way.”
Son: (…) 
 
Or, when I try to help and get the answer wrong, most often with their cloze passages (where you fill in words missing from a chunk of text). 
 
My kids will come back, wave their papers at me and cry: “Mummy, I lost 2 marks because of you!” or “Mummy, you asked me to write my compo this way and my teacher says it’s wrong!”
 
So, when I read this article about American parents who try to help their kids with homework but with disastrous results, I let out an embarrassed laugh.
 
We’re letting our competitiveness and egos get in the way of our children’s learning process.
 
An assistant principal quoted in the article sums it up best: “Being wrong is part of the process of understanding. Going out on a limb, being willing to take a chance, is a critical skill not just for homework, but for life.”
 
So, I will bite my tongue the next time I see a word misspelt, or a wrong answer, or a missing answer statement.
 
Okay, maybe just that one, small, tiny, word
 
 
(Photo: ClickRF)
 

 

 

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