There are definitely different “schools” of thought when it comes to the involvement of parents in their children’s homework. One thing is clear though, parents should never complete homework (or projects) for their children, as this ensures that very little, if any, learning will take place.
So, what role can parents play with respect to helping kids with homework? I believe that children should be responsible for completing their homework but that parents can help guide them along the way, teaching them important study and life skills in the process.
For example, parents can teach children discipline by setting a time to complete work and sticking to it. We can teach our kids to be organized by having a study space free of distractions and where they have easy access to whatever supplies they need. We can also teach them the value of planning by making sure instructions are followed and timelines are met (e.g. have them spend a bit of time before they start working on a project to identify project tasks and when they need to be completed).
Whenever possible, try to encourage your children to be independent learners, looking to external sources for answers (e.g. a thesaurus, their teacher, discussions in class), rather than counting on you to supply them.
Check out this great article for more ways parents can help manage their children’s learning and create independent and savvy learners.
Helping kids with homework is tricky at best (after all, we as parents clearly “don’t know anything”), so maybe the best guidance we can offer our children is to teach them about the process to be followed when studying and completing projects. Rest assured, they will use these skills in many capacities throughout their lifetimes.