What’s the role of parents in helping their children with homework or projects? 11 Apr 2022 Daniel Curry, Director & Principal, Vega Schools

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All parents want to see their children succeed. They want their children to attend top schools and perform with excellence. But what exactly is the role of parents when it comes to homework or projects?

School is a place for students to practice, make mistakes, and learn. The best schools understand that seeing student work helps teachers understand where the gaps are and then teach/reteach as needed. And as students grow from pre-nursery to kindergarten and eventually to higher grades, they need varying levels of support and assistance.

Parents should support their children by first asking about/reminding them of homework or projects. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility and ownership over their own  work. Parents should provide a separate work area which is free of distractions and has good lighting for students to do their work.  Parents can be a resource as students work - not to give answers, but to guide them in finding the answer.

Parents should refrain from giving answers or doing work for students. This robs them of the learning opportunity. Often in elementary school projects, the products submitted are at such a professional level that it is clear the parent did the work. If the goal is just getting high marks for your children, it is understandable that parents will want to influence the work. However, if the goal is for children to learn and show what they know, it makes no sense for parents to finish the project.

During the pandemic, in online classes, I would occasionally hear a parent off screen whispering answers to their child. The teacher is interested in finding out what the child knows, not whether or not the parent knows the answer. Again, the goal of top schools in Gurgaon and elsewhere is to assess the student and build their knowledge. We expect and encourage mistakes and then give strategies to children on how to overcome them. It isn’t about getting top marks. In fact, at the School I lead, we don’t give marks. We are interested in finding out what the child does and doesn’t know/understand, then building appropriate educational plans around that.

Parents can support and encourage their child as they work. Parents can also explain strategies and content, help with vocabulary, and review work. Rather than doing the work, parents should be facilitating the work so that their children understand. The goal shouldn’t be marks, but for every child to develop a deep understanding of the curriculum and have the skills to apply that knowledge in different situations.

In this way, parents and teachers join together to develop students who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, researchers, and ultimately self-sufficient. They learn to do things themselves rather than relying on parents or teachers to give answers. They aren’t taught that perfect marks are the only indicators of success; they know that in life we try, fail, adjust, and try again. Making mistakes is just part of the process.

These principles apply equally at all grade levels, be in a Pre nursery school, kindergarten, Primary school, middle and senior school.

For more information on the above subject, write to us at info@vega.edu.in.

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