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Homework help...how much is too much?

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by DsMom, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. DsMom

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    Looking especially for teachers' input here. My oldest daughter is very self motivated and hardly ever needs my help with homework. She sits down by herself, gets it done, and that is it. My boys are a different story...they do need help, Daniel (with ADHD) often needs A LOT of help. I sometimes worry how much help is too much. If I help them so that they get the answers right, the teacher may think they are doing fine and are not struggling with things they are really having a hard time with. However, if they ask for help...I can't say no. I do try to simply help them figure things out on their own by asking questions...but at times that is not enough...especially with math...and I end up really doing the problem for them (not often, but sometimes). My older son also has lots of trouble with spelling....is it wrong to correct his spelling and grammar on a paper before he turns it in (as a former editor, I have a REALLY hard time letting him spell incorrectly)...or do I let him make his mistakes so the teacher sees where he needs work? Note that, if I do help a lot with a homework assignment, I often add a note telling the teacher that my child struggled with the work.

    With Daniel entering 3rd grade, which I know requires much more writing...I am really wondering about this. He is in learning support for writing this year...how much should I help him with the papers and reports he will have to do this year? (He is getting better, but really struggles just making a good sentence at this point.:()
     
  2. KRenee

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    I am a homeschooler and what you describe seems to be very common. My daughter is like your daughter and my son (with processing issues) is somewhat like your sons.

    I think you should do everything you can to help your sons feel successful in school. Boys typically mature later than girls and this includes the skills needed for school. If you help Daniel with math, try to lead him to the answer instead of giving it to him (not that you do) and maybe do an extra problem just to see if he fully understands the concept.

    Your boys will probably have to work a little harder that others and the sooner they come to that realization the better off they will be. Make your older one check words he is uncertain of and your younger son may have to have more repetition than is given as homework.

    I like that you communicate with the teacher, but I wouldn't hesitate to assist my child if they were having difficulty in school.

    Parents must be involved with their child's schooling because I don't think the teacher has time to attend to every child that needs a little extra help.

    It would be interesting to hear from a teacher.
     
  3. MomofSweetOne

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    This is a question that has differing answers depending on the teacher. Some teachers are thrilled with parental involvement; others get upset that parent help changes the grade. The question becomes What Matters Most to You? The grades or his learning? The grades may be inflated because of your help, but of what benefit is a lower grade if the child is struggling to understand or struggling with distractibility problems that can be helped with one-on-one? Is the goal to have the child learn or to give out grades? The answer would vary according to the age of the child as well.
     
  4. hawkeyegirl

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    Unless I get specific instructions otherwise from the teacher, I assume that I am allowed to help with and check homework. I don't do it for him, but I review it and tell him if he needs to double check question 4 or if he needs to look up the spelling of the word "special" or whatever.
     
  5. Christopher

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    Have you talked to your child's teacher(s) about your concerns? That would be the first thing I would do. All children at some point need help with their schoolwork and there is nothing wrong with a parent doing that. However, I think if your child needs so much help that you are actually doing the work for them, you need to look at why they are struggling and also getting them the resources (tutor, etc) they need to be successful. Good luck.
     
  6. selketine

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    Around 4th or 5th grade I started "scribing" for my son for longer writing assignments (this is my older one who has ADD). He would give beautiful oral answers but would sit in front of a piece of paper for hours. I also bought a "learn to type" program for kids and he practiced on that.

    He has the accommodation in school to use a computer for in class exams and assignments and he got to the point in middle school where he could type for himself and his answers were mostly decently long enough.

    His handwriting is still unreadable - even he can't read it.

    As for doing math for them - if they have 10 problems and you sit with them and do one with them to help them understand - I think that is fine. If you end up having to do most of the work - I wouldn't do that. I write a note on it and say that I worked with him for an hour and he still couldn't do it, etc. I often think up similar problems to the ones on the homework sheet and do those instead of using exactly the numbers on their sheet (if that is possible with whatever math they are doing).
     
  7. Ali

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    If a child has major spelling and hand writing issues you may want to have him/her checked for "Spelling Dysgraphia" a learning disability which can really impact a childs performance in middle and high school. It may require accommodations such as note taking by others, use of a keyboard for tests/exams, sometimes extra time, recording answers, or using text to speech programs for writing assignments at home and a scribe at school or for standardized exams. It is usually only somewhat helped by extra practice. It can impact math as it often involves jumping lines of work so they put the answer in the wrong spot or misread problems or get their work wrong when doing problems. Using a guide to stay on the same line helps in doing the problems and on bubble or circle tests, both for math and other subjects. Good luck. ali P.S. It is often not diagnosed and you need a good learning disability professional to do the work up.
     
  8. DsMom

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    I've never heard of this, and think I will look into it for my older son (who does not have ADHD). His spelling is often awful...and hates to write. But we discovered at the end of last year that he is much more willing to write complete paragraphs when I let him type them on the computer. His writing is clever and often funny...he just really struggles with the spelling and grammar. I am even noticing my son WITH ADHD starting to be able to spell some things his older brother can't.:(

    Thanks for sharing this.
     
  9. DsMom

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    That is an excellent point. I'm definitely interested in their learning, which is why I asked this question. I do, however, realize that teachers have an entire class full of kids, and my sons may not get the attention they need at times. Especially my older son, as at least his younger brother is in learning support with a much smaller class for writing. (He was in for the entire language arts period last year...but his reading took off and he is doing an amazing job with it now.:)) I want to make sure they are absorbing what they are taught in class, and, if they aren't, to help them "get it" at home. I do usually just do a check at first, and ask them to re-do questions they got wrong in math. With Daniel, I have had assignments when I've had to sit with him through every problem...but those are the times I write a note.

    I get really fuzzy when it comes to writing however. And I think this is mostly what my question is about. I wonder if it is okay to tell him how to change a sentence around to have it make more sense...or to suggest adding info to a paragraph to make it more complete? I feel like I am in a gray area there...and I don't know if I am helping too much. The editor in me takes over, I think, and I worry about going too far.
     
  10. skimom

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    I am a teacher so will try and chime in.
    First of all, how much homework are we talking about here?Ideally not a lot as in my opinion, their job is to be kids first ( plus they have put in a full day already at school). I would first ensure that the reason your child is getting homework is not because they aren't getting their work done at school.
    When my kids were in elementary school, there was usually a weekly spelling list, daily home reading and a math problem of the week ( or similar thing) that was due. Parents were expected to help. The teachers would send us what the expectations were ( ie as to amount/level of help) and when to wave the white flag and write a note. The idea was that the kids were learning how to do homework . Any big project was done at school so that the work being evaluated was the child's not the parents.
    i would ask the teacher specifically what the expectations are for work/help etc for you and your children - It sounds to me like what you are doing is fine but i would check just to be sure.
     
  11. Helenmomofsporty13yearold

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  12. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Spelling. It's a sore spot for me. I am an appallingly bad speller - as in I once titled a spelling test header as a, "speeling test":rolleyes:

    It's not always so simple as using a dictionary or practicing... fact is, if you can't spell it, you can't look it up. Bad spelling undermines all writing, all creative written expression, everything. It can make a bright kid think that they are dumb because they cannot do this simple mechanical task.

    I was never dx'd with anything but that was a different era. Please, as a terrible speller who likes to write and loves language, and who was just saved by the introduction of "spell check", I ask you to get to the root of your son's spelling difficulty. He's not lazy or inattentive, chances are, he just cannot figure out how to piece the letters together. :(
     
  13. selketine

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    We had most of the accommodations listed for him - at first. He has slowly gotten better - especially if he uses the computer. I agree that it is a problem - and sometimes the school will accommodate without having the diagnosis. The teachers see he can't write and complain in the evaluations - hence you can get accommodations that way.

    This child also got almost 100% on every spelling test - but he is a horrible speller. He just has an excellent short term memory for this sort of thing.:rolleyes:
     
  14. DsMom

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    My (older) son can also pass spelling tests with A LOT of studying...but will not retain how to spell the word and still spell it wrong later. He adds final "e"s to things that don't need "e"s and then leaves them off when they are needed. He also has lots of problems with letter pairs in words, such as "au" and "ea". I also worry about his spelling for the impression it will make later in life...despite the advent of spell check! I think it will really slow him down as he goes through high school and college. And, there will be some times in life when you have to actually write a note on a piece of paper...and I do think terrible spelling sends a bad impression (at least at work). Last year, his teacher did not even GIVE spelling tests...using some kind of new fangled way of teaching spelling. I feel like it was a whole year wasted...he just won't learn the spelling at all if he's not tested. We did do some home testing to try to keep up, though.

    I really think this is something I am going to have to be more aggressive about this year.
     
  15. Ali

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    There can be many reasons for being a poor speller. As mentioned in my prior post a Spelling Dysgraphia learning disorder is one of them. This disorder involves much more than just being a poor speller. A person with Spelling Dysgraphia has very specific brain deficits when tested in a variety of areas, usually spatial and others. Very poor hand writing (fine motor skills) will often be part of it. It often impacts reading. It also can impact the ability to organize their written work. You need a a full battery of psychological learning work ups for the official diagnosis. Some schools may provide you with accommodations but for the ADA legalities to apply you need an official diagnosis. One of my children has this. The name of this disability short changes it in many peoples mind to being a minor issue with spelling. The spelling is just one symptom of a host of issues. You need the legal qualifications to get the accommodations at state Universities. :cwds:ali It does not involve IQ at all. My son with it tests very very high in IQ (150+).
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  16. DsMom

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    Thanks for the additional info. My son also has atrocious hand writing...but is actually an excellent reader. It always confuses me how he can read so well (and he reads a lot at home, too) and spell so terribly.
     
  17. Ali

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    DsMom
    Sorry I am bombarding you with so much info:p. My knowledge is from perrsonal experience and reading, but like most learning issues (or health issues, T1 anyone:cwds:) it may manifest itself differently with different people. The combination of spelling and poor hand writing were two major issues for my son but were not looked into during grade school as there are plenty of kids who struggle with spelling or handwriting who do just need a bit more help and do not have an underlying LD. Good luck sorting things out.:)ali
     
  18. MomofSweetOne

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    Sounds like my daughter! I just ordered The Logic of English to hopefully correct some of her difficulties. I know it bothers her that spelling is so tough.
     
  19. KatieSue

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    This is me. My handwriting bites. My Third Grade teacher claims I am still the worst handwriting student she ever had. I read like crazy but I just can't spell certain words. I think Vacuum needs an e at the end. I know it's wrong but it does. Cocktail doesn't need that K in the middle. I have a whole list of em. And if you're off enough spell check doesn't help either. Neither do books like commonly misspelled words.

    As for homework I try not to "help" too much more point in the right direction. There have been a few instances where it was just over her head or we just didn't have time so I helped a little more.

    I like to tell her I already passed the (fill in the blank grade) I don't need to do it over again.
     
  20. DsMom

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    No, the more info the better! Thank you.
     

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