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Do Parents Ever Cross a Line by Helping Too Much With Schoolwork?

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Replies to: Do Parents Ever Cross a Line by Helping Too Much With Schoolwork?

  • mom2andmom2and 3034 replies20 threads Senior Member
    As other have said, context matters. Yes it would be better if every teacher was willing/able to go over a problem that stumped your child and really explain it. But that doesn't always happen. Helping a kid work through a math problem is one thing, doing it for them is crossing the line. Teachers don't always even check every homework problem.

    We didn't help much with homework, except if one of the kids was doing poorly in a subject or was clearly stuck.
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  • momocarlymomocarly 969 replies12 threads Member
    @wellspring I wil say the same. My daughter always struggled and yes, we overstepped sometimes. She is a child that has an emotional disorder, can't focus, severe depression, and school and homework were severe triggers. She honestly barely made it through high school. Now she is doing more on her own, she is still very behind. The times we didn't help her she just didn't do it or learn anything from failure, other than that she should just give up and went further into depression. Even her therapists and school were telling us to do what we could to have her do the most she could and get her through high school. That type of child is hard. Due to this, her brother got almost no help at all! He could handle it and is doing great in college.

    For him, I remember one time I did some of his work. APUSH, teacher got a brain tumor and had to leave after a month of school. He had 8 different teachers for the rest of the year. Horrible. He had a major polocrosse tournament out of town one weekend that we knew was coming and he worked all his work ahead for. On Wed. the APUSH sub changed a major project entirely. He had followed the rubric and it was almost done. The sub saw the classes progress and changed everything (sent a note home documenting this). Son's writing was done but now she wanted it in terms of a story. I gave him an idea that had minimal rewriting - not a big deal. BUT she decided that of the 52 pictures required, only 5 could be printed or from magazines and the other had to be hand drawn and quality of the drawing counted. My son cannot draw anything other than stick figures to this day. He talked to her (as did most of the class), no relief. And it was all due Monday morning. It had to be bound as a book meeting all kinds of requirements. We were leaving Friday right after school and were in the middle of nowhere. He did all he could but yes I outlined the pictures and in his breaks in the tournament he colored. I printed his writing and glued it for him (all his writing). Every parent complained. On Sunday night at 10 pm (after his was finished, she changed the deadline). I missed seeing the tournament, he missed all the tournament events, and this happened. Yes after the next week she never returned. He still talks about that project!
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 681 replies5 threads Member
    I helped a lot with math. Probably too much but they did well on tests without me so I assume they did learn better by having me explain things instead of just letting them struggle.
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  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 486 replies8 threads Member
    My kids' peers get so much help from tutors that my kids joke about how they are actually in class with a bunch of out of work PhDs. Also, I vividly remember being at a school board meeting where one parent loudly complained about having to hire a tutor to help her second grader with math. All I could think was "really, you'd admit that you don't know enough math to help your second grader?"!
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  • Momma2018Momma2018 414 replies33 threads Member
    LOL - those elementary school projects were always a hoot. DS18 would always have some grand idea in mind and be so disappointed in the result. I would buy supplies with him but that was it. I am less artistic than he is so he never asked for my help. Then, the school would often have a day for parents to come in and see the projects. I would say at least half the class looked like they had gotten parent help. Either that, or some 4th graders were very skilled at woodworking!
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2962 replies71 threads Senior Member
    I proofread DD's work when she asks, but that isn't often. I'll tell her, "You made three punctuation mistakes in this paragraph. See if you can find them." or "You changed tenses twice in this paragraph. Pick one." I feel like her teachers can't complain about that. She can make mistakes - and learn from those mistakes - without the fear or penalty of a bad grade. Over the years her writing has gotten very good, so I think that method has helped.

    Forget math. I haven't been able to help her with that in a while.
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  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 1218 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Also, I vividly remember being at a school board meeting where one parent loudly complained about having to hire a tutor to help her second grader with math. All I could think was "really, you'd admit that you don't know enough math to help your second grader?"!

    Second grade, multiplying fractions:

    Kid: "Can you show me how to do this?"
    Me: "Sure!" and proceeds to show her how to cross multiply fractions.
    Kid: "That's now how my teacher said to do it."
    Me: "Well, then, you're on your own."

    I still don't know what method the teacher was using to multiply fractions, but I secretly used cross multiplication to check my kids' work.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2525 replies61 threads Senior Member
    Kid: I got full points in my English assignment, but the teacher marked every sentence up. What am I doing wrong?
    Me: I interpret the comments in conjunction with the grade as, "this is a good first draft; here's how you can tighten it up."
    Kid: Can you mark up my next assignment so I can revise it before I turn it in?

    So I did, and asked her to take both the draft with my comments and the final version in, and ask the teacher whether she agreed with the changes I suggested. Teacher apparently got a good laugh out of it - she said that the extraneous words I'd crossed out in the first sentence were the same ones she was crossing out in every single kid's first sentences.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2418 replies21 threads Senior Member
    S was able to just get it done on his own and id quite well. Very structured and focused. D always wanted my help with math. Used to cause strife in our house. Would have been easy for me to just help her with it to get it done, but I refused.She'd ask for help. I'd read the problem and ask, "What don't you understand?" She'd say the whole thing. I'd say read it to me and tell me specifically what you don't get. Do you not understand the words? She'd say no I just don't get the concept. Which concept I'd ask. And then she'd explain the concept (which she clearly understood). So I would say, see you know how to do this and then she'd do it. She was just being lazy and didn't want to.

    I can easily see why a parent would take over because that was quite painful after a long day but she doesn't ask anymore :-*
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  • yucca10yucca10 1386 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Oh my, I never knew there is more that one way of multiplying fractions. I didn't go to school in the U.S., so this kind of pedagogical terminology occasionally stumped me with kid's homework.
    He was always good at math but made a large number of careless errors. We had to work on this at home, checking his homework and making him find his errors. This really helped.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    We took the approach to "home school" around the school schedule. In Colorado, students only
    go to school 171 days a year, so its half time here. We home school the other half of the year, which includes
    dinner conversations, field trips, math, physics, engineering,
    English, and geography, which was missing at our public schools.
    I did not focus much on grades, and never looked at grades. I think my kids did fine, but I never downloaded
    report cards. I basically wanted them to be responsible for their grades. One is getting a PhD in theoretical physics and the other
    is a double major in math/CS. I think those problems we worked at dinner, must have helped! But it was
    not teacher stuff, I just did not care about teacher stuff, that was the teacher's problem and my son's problem.

    One of my sons got an F though in Spanish.so I got called in.

    I remember going into the 5th grade teacher and asked does
    he need to repeat Spanish? She looked confused. So we just never worried about elementary school
    grades, in our state
    grades were more or less a teacher pet thing, up through 8th grade. High school was much better
    and we used an IB school.

    (he did not hand in two assignments and was failed along with half the class, only the boys were failed in this
    particular charter school ! ) Too funny, grades are meaningless in elementary school. In fact we did not
    even encourage our sons to hand in homework if they were tired, we just said go to bed, you are fine.

    High school is different, and does matter a bit more than elementary school though. but if parents help too much
    college will turn out to be a disaster.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    Here is a typical US public school schedule, 174 contact days with students and teachers in class.
    So parents can home school for almost half the year, if they choose. I suggest trying it. Thats the ticket, learn more
    but don't worry about grades as they are just the opinion of teachers, who may offer poor tests, poor instruction.
    School is for socializing, and home is for learning was our motto. !! With that, the IB curriculum is good and beefy.
    https://www.svvsd.org/files/REVISED - Adopted 2019.pdf
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4665 replies56 threads Senior Member
    @Coloradomama Or you can just homeschool for 180 days, equally not focused on grades, and let your kids spend the other 1/2 of the yr exploring their interests and self-educating in areas of deep interest. It gives them plenty of time to learn a plethora of ideas outside of the traditional educational system's perview. It works here, anyway. :)
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  • CariñoCariño 227 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I have my particular opinion about school projects. I definitely helped may kids with elementary school projects. I am an engineer/architect, and I just could not miss that. Both my kids enjoyed those weekends around posters, papers, scissors, glue, and crayons so much. We had so much fun creating, painting, and imagining the final product. Obviously, their projects were always the best. By Middle School, both were doing all projects by themselves, and they continued to be the best of the grade. They simply learned from me how to measure, cut, organize, make a sketch, etc. Teachers don't teach that. When my daughter was in the junior year in HS she won first prize as the best science research board. It worked.
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  • CariñoCariño 227 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited October 2018
    @Coloradomama
    "Too funny, grades are meaningless in elementary school. In fact, we did not
    even encourage our sons to hand in homework if they were tired, we just said go to bed, you are fine.'

    That is relative and depends on the type of school. At my kids' school (private prep school PK3-12) for example, there are three math levels since 4th grade. Depending on grades, a placement test, and the teacher's recommendation at the end of 5th grade, the student will be allow seeing pre-algebra H or 6th-grade math. It will also determine if they finish MS with Algebra 2 H or Algebra 1, and so on for HS. Only the students that have been consistently good at math end up with multivariable in the senior year.
    In my opinion grades not only are important bc of that but also so will help to build good habits (among other aspects, good grades usually mean good study habits) and set expectations and commitment with responsibilities (even more important than grades), something that is definitely easier to do with young kids. Honestly, after 14 years involved in the school, I have never seen a student that was a B student in elementary that became a top student later on.
    edited October 2018
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  • HappyGoLucky2017HappyGoLucky2017 122 replies0 threads Junior Member

    How much is too much depends on the kid. If you are teaching and contributing to growth, then it's good. I wouldn't over think this. Especially through middle school. Ideally, support at a younger age leads to an independent high schooler.
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4665 replies56 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    @Cariño I agree that kids in the school system should probably conform to classroom expectations bc that is how learning is evaluated. But, outside of a traditional classroom, learning objectives do not need to be grade focused to "build good habits and set expectations and with commitment responsibilities" or to even develop strong study skills. Long-term understanding and ownership over the process can be nurtured outside of traditional methodologies. And that taking ownership over learning just for the sake of learning can be a great gift to take through life. (And not lead to any difficulties in transitioning into a classroom setting. )

    (Fwiw, I hate not being able to go back and edit posts.I do know how to spell purview.)

    Eta: Love your story @allyphoe!
    edited October 2018
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