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To find out, we studied data from an important nationally representative survey administered by the federal government—the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study.
It’s hard to fault the child who resists doing homework.
After all, she has already put in a long day at school, probably been involved in afterschool activities, and, as the late afternoon spills into evening, now faces a pile of assignments.
In other words, calls for all parents to stop helping with homework could end up hurting some children.
In addition, one common concern is that only affluent and highly educated parents have the time and resources to help their children with homework regularly.
When it’s thoughtfully assigned, homework provides deeper engagement with material introduced in class.
And even when it’s “just” worksheets, homework can build the automatic habits and the basic skills required to tackle more interesting endeavors. Adult life brings its share of tasks that are both compulsory and unenjoyable.Parents can also seek advice from teachers and other school staff on how to make homework support engaging and attuned to their child's learning needs.Blanket statements about whether homework help is simply good or bad can be misleading.After seeing headlines such as "Why It's So Important You Never Help Your Kids With Their Homework" and "Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework," moms, dads and other caregivers can be left wondering whether they should even bother. Together with sociologist Angran Li, I set out to make sense of this conflicting guidance. The basis for claims that parental help with homework can be bad for students comes from research examining national surveys.These studies find that frequent homework help from parents is associated with lower test scores.Instead, they should let their children figure out answers on their own while offering helpful hints and positive feedback as needed.Although parents should always consider their child's individual learning needs, researchers say that parents should gradually reduce homework help as their children grow older, probably phasing out direct assistance with homework by the time their children reach high school.However, evidence suggests that the quality of homework help also matters.Parents can make a difference through warm encouragement and a positive outlook and by communicating high expectations to children.We find little evidence to support this presumption.On national surveys, low-income and minority families report helping their children with homework frequently. Quality counts It is important to point out that our study looked at the frequency of homework help from parents.