Friday, 16 December 2011

Helping kids with their homework

So here's my question: when is help from a parent too much help? 

We've had the opportunity to help our oldest boy with two large assignments twice now. The first was a book report, and the second is an autobiography he's currently working on.

 If we had let him do his book report on his own, it would have been of incredibly poor quality and probably not in on time at all. How do we know this? Because initially we let him go at it on his own and the results were eye-opening. Not only did he write his report without actually reading the book, but his answers were flat out wrong. Thankfully the teacher gave her students lots of time to do the assignment so I ended up reading the book to ensure his answers were accurate. Plus, I sat down with him and basically pulled the answers out of his mouth, but George said I was doing his work for him. He ended up with a 3/4 on his report, which we were both happy about (although I would have argued that the teacher inappropriately took away marks.)

Now he's working on an autobiography and so far the results are less than stellar. For his cover page, all he had to do was cut out images from a magazine that represents his likes, personality etc. The end result looks like a cat puked up a hairball of pictures. He's still working on the write-up.

 Do we:
1. Leave it "as is" and let him suffer the consequences of a potentially poor mark?
2. Tell him to do it again even though he seems proud of it?
3. "Suggest" improvements (but that means we're actually doing it for him?)

 Suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated.

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