The Wall Street Journal:
Homework can be as monumental a task for parents as it is for children. So what’s the best strategy to get a kid to finish it all? Where’s the line between helping with an assignment and doing the assignment? And should a parent nag a procrastinating preteen to focus—or let the child fall behind and learn a hard lesson?
As schools pile on more homework as early as preschool, many parents are confused about how to assist, says a 2012 research review at Johns Hopkins University. Some 87% of parents have a positive view of helping with homework, and see it as a beneficial way to spend time with their kids, says the study, co-authored by Joyce Epstein, a research professor of sociology and education.
Yet sometimes parental intervention may actually hurt student performance. During the middle-school years, such help was linked to lower academic achievement in a 2009 review of 50 studies by researchers at Duke University. Parents who apply too much pressure, explain material in different ways than teachers or intervene without being asked may undermine these students’ growing desire for independence, according to the study, published in Developmental Psychology.
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