Dayton Daily News
Helping your child with homework won’t improve grades, study says
helping with homework, attending meetings at schools, or punishing your child for poor grades.
When it comes to homework, the results are clear. They concluded that “…most parents appear to be ineffective at helping their children with homework … when parents regularly helped with homework, kids usually performed worse.”
Many parents spend hours attending school meetings, talking with teachers, and volunteering. Does it matter? “… we found that most forms of parental involvement yielded no benefit to children’s test scores or grades, regardless of racial or ethnic background or socioeconomic standing.”
A few things do matter. Reading to your young child, having high expectations for attending college, discussing school activities at home, and trying to get your child assigned to a particular teacher impact your child’s academic achievement.
This is a comprehensive and complex study, and some results vary by age and ethnic group. For example, while parental assistance in homework was generally ineffective, that did not hold true for Asian parents. Homework assistance with those kids did help their grades, but not their test scores.
The researchers concluded that parents play a key role in their children’s academic performance, but not in the typical ways. You have your greatest effect by regularly talking with your child about the importance of school, and showing interest in what they are doing. Micromanaging their homework or attending school events doesn’t impact their achievement.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop going to your child’s school plays or bringing in cookies for teacher appreciation day. It’s fun to watch your child perform, or show gratitude to caring and effective teachers. Our kids may also need help occasionally with a homework assignment or completing a school project.
Continue to stay involved in school, just don’t expect that it matters when it comes to your child’s academic achievement.
Next week: Should you allow your teen to drink alcohol at home?
Dr. Ramey is the executive director of Dayton Children's Hospital's Pediatric Center for Mental Health Resources and can be contacted at Rameyg@childrensdayton. org.