According to The National Center for Family Literacy, almost 50% of parents feel they can’t help their child with homework because they don’t understand the material. And let’s face it, for most parents it’s been a long time since they’ve been in a classroom. So what should parents do to set their children up for success, and more importantly, what shouldn’t they do?
Below are some of the things parents say that sabotage learning along with our advice on how to set your child up for success.
1. “I wasn’t good at math when I was your age either.” Parents often say this to comfort their child, but what you’re really doing is giving them an escape hatch. Everyone can be good at math! The next time your child complains about math try this instead: “I know math can be really tough, but I also know that you can do it. Let’s work together to figure this out.” This way you have acknowledged their feelings, but also let them know that they are capable of the challenge ahead.
2. “This assignment is stupid.” Lashing out models the wrong behavior for your child. Focus on trying to figure out what the teacher wants; if you’re stuck, suggest that the student email the teacher to get more advice. There are also great sites like Khan Academy that explain concepts via video.
3. “Sit down and finish all your homework right now or no computer time!” Experts generally agree that students should get about 10 minutes of homework per grade level. That’s 90 minutes of homework for your 9th grader! Research shows students don’t concentrate well for long periods. Rather than demanding your child finish all his/her homework in one sitting, encourage him/her to take breaks every 20-30 minutes. That’s a great time to check their phone, get a snack or just get up and stretch. They’ll complain less and be more productive.
4. “You just have to learn it for the test.” Encouraging kids to cram for the test means they’ll never really learn the material. So important now because especially in math and science concepts build on one another. Your child needs to know what’s on this test to do next week’s lesson. We surveyed 500 math tutors and they told us the number one reason student’s don’t understand something is because they missed a previous concept in class.
Guest post by Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Tutor.com, the world’slargest and highest-rated online tutoring company with a community of more than 3,000 expert tutors, and over 10 million one-to-one online tutoring sessions served. Professional tutors are available 24/7 in 40 plus subjects, including AP courses and SAT test prep. Ninety percent of students who use Tutor.com get better grades, feel more confident and complete their homework on time.