Why I Don’t Help My Kid With Homework…And You Shouldn’t Either

I’ll let you in on a little secret…I am not smarter than a third grader. Especially when it comes to math. Not the math that served my generation and the many before me just fine (although, truth be told, I wasn’t that great at that math either:). The new math.  Common Core math. The math that takes you around the block when all you want to do is go across the street.

When it comes to math, my daughter and I live in two different worlds. In her world, she has learned to write a paragraph explaining why 1+1=2. In my world, 1+1=2 because I said so (*rolls eyes and throws pencil). I got so sick of hearing, “We don’t do it that way” whenever I tried to show her why an answer was wrong that I felt compelled to learn how to do it the new way. Then I could actually help her with homework, thus become a better parent, blah blah blah. Ha! It only took about 5 minutes of bundling, skip counting and trying to show my work for me to ask myself, “What the hell are you doing?” I am not the teacher. Besides, isn’t the purpose of homework to reinforce what the kids have already learned in the classroom? After reassuring myself that I was smart and I was important, I decided to totally change my approach to homework.


Now, I start the school year by letting Journey’s teachers know that I don’t help with homework. I make sure she does it. I check it. I make sure she turns it in. And I sort of hint that her ability to understand and complete an assignment is really a reflection of what transpires in the classroom. Naturally, they agree.

Before Journey starts her homework, I make sure she reads the directions and I read them as well to make sure she understands the assignment. If she has a question, I go over the directions with her again. After that, if she still doesn’t get it, she takes it back to school and lets her teacher know that she didn’t complete the assignment because she didn’t understand it. This approach accomplishes three things:

1.  Prevents her from starting the habit of going along to get along and pretending to understand something just because everyone else seems to get it.

2.  Encourages her to advocate for herself and not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when she needs it.

3.  Eliminates the stress that we both felt in our attempt to turn in perfect homework assignments. It’s okay if she gets a few answers wrong.

So now I’ve added homework to the list of things that I vow not to “fix” for my daughter. Yes there will be exceptions to this homework rule. But I‘m going to try my best to step back and let her make mistakes and learn how to correct them on her own. And hopefully she will gain the confidence to know that she is capable of doing just about anything—without my help.

7 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Help My Kid With Homework…And You Shouldn’t Either

  1. AMEN to THIS!!! I don’t help my kids either- both of them- grades 3 and 6 are on their own. I want to teach them how to be independent thinkers and also? Responsibility for their OWN work and academic (among other things) expectations.

    I also don’t get third grade math- my kids KNOW not to even ask me for help!! lol Common core just takes this to a whole new level of complications and total confusion!! Oy.

  2. Makes perfect sense!

    I homeschool, so we don’t “do” homework… or do we?! But your reasoning here sounds EXACTLY like the rationale I would use. If they don’t “get it” in school, then it’s time to let the teacher know – because heck, we could mess the process up even more!

    Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  3. I keep telling my boys that homework is just practice for what you were taught by your teacher that day. If you don’t understand what you learned in school that day, then your teacher needs to know it. Therefore….I’m not fixing your homework!

  4. You make a great point! I was really pleased to get a letter from my son’s first grade teacher saying she doesn’t like homework and will only send it home if absolutely necessary. It’s going to be a good year, haha.

  5. I have a 17 y/o and a 12 y/o…… I did help years ago with the 17 y/o, and the 12 y/o has dyslexia so I have to help her.

    That all said, the 17 y/o rocks it all by herself and other than proof reading a paper because she asks, and I want her to do this with someone in college she has her homework down……

    The 12 y/o I read along with her the assignment, and let her get to it. If she has a question I will answer it. Then I check it over, point out or circle an incorrect answer and ask her if she knows where she went wrong. If she does, great she goes ahead and corrects it. If not I point to it, and again she corrects it.

    Homework it a way of life where we live, and we just get it done, to enjoy the rest of the evening as a family!!!!!


  6. Nice share, I never helped with homework either. My thought was I already went to school it’s your turn. I looked it over I asked questions but after that my daughter was on her own. I believe our kids have to learn to focus and motivate themselves, if I as a parent have to hover over you to get your work done how are you learning and how does that keep me stress free. Found you on Bloggy Moms following via email:)

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