Parents assisting their children with their assignments or projects is a common sight in many households; however, some teachers state that there should be limits on how much assistance a parent should provide. The study of Horvat and Baugh (2015) showed that supplementing school lessons through the use of home-based teaching methods (i.e. parents educating their children at home) helps to significantly improve academic performance.
In fact, Horvat and Baugh stated that learning should not stop at the doorsteps of a school; rather, it should extend to lessons at home so that a child can ask their parents to clarify particular concepts that they were unable to understand (Horvat & Baugh, 2015). Rodriguez and Elbaum (2014) proved this in their study where it showed a significant gap in academic performance between students that primarily studied on their own and those that were being taught by their parents. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Defining the Problem
The problem centers on where should the line be drawn when it comes to the amount of assistance that a child should receive from their parents when it comes to their school work. It is understandable that parents want their children to do well in school but in some cases they take this too far and start doing the school projects and assignments instead of their children. This sort of action prevents a child from actually learning how to solve problems on their own and can have an adverse impact on their learning development.
Some parents justify this action by stating that by taking a more direct role in assisting their children with their assignments and projects, this ensures that their kids would get good grades which would help in improving their future prospectives (Shiffman, 2011). Admittedly, these parents do have a point that grades are important when it comes to applying for future scholarships or competitive internships; however, constantly assisting a child in this manner creates a level of dependency that would delay them from being able to independently resolve complex issues and problems on their own.
Analyzing the Problem
In this case example, a parent is at the precipice of making a decision between being more involved in their child’s project to help them get a better grade or allowing them to make their own mistakes so that their capacity to be independent is properly nourished. Both options have pros and cons when it comes to their potential long-term outcomes, and each can radically impact how a child would perceive the process of problem-solving. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The problem is thus divided between the opportunities gained through high academic grades and developing the capacity of an individual to confidently resolve problems on their own (Rodriguez & Elbaum, 2014). There is no easy resolution between the two possible outcomes since both have their own individual merits that could greatly benefit a child, at least from the perspective of a parent.
There are three possible solutions that can be followed for this case example:
a.) The Parent Heavily Contributes to the Project – in this scenario the parent realizes that they need to directly assist their child in their project so that they will get a good grade. As such, they will directly interfere in how the child approaches the creation of the project, explain what must be done to get a good result, and help the child achieve this outcome through direct interaction with the project materials.
b.) The Parent Lets their Child Continue on their own – in this scenario the parent realizes the need for their child to learn how to be independent and the necessity of learning from their own mistakes. While the child will get a lower grade for the project, they will at least learn from the experience and take more proactive steps in the future to prevent a similar problem from occurring.
c.) Primarily Providing Guidance but not Direct Interference – in this scenario, the parent will only provide guidance and not interfere in how the project turns out. They would go over the project instructions and inform their child that some points were missed and that they should be included so that they will receive a full grade. At this stage, they will advise their child on what they could potentially do and why it would work but would leave its creation and the decision-making process on how to pull it off completely in the child’s hands (Yoder & Lopez, 2013).
Making the Decision
Based on the information provided by the various studies examined for this paper, parental assistance was shown as an absolute necessity when it comes to improving a child’s grades; however, none of the studies stated that parent should do projects or assignments on behalf of their children. All of the studies utilized mentioned parents as being an extension of the learning experience wherein they help their children understand confusing concepts and help them to work out how to solve problems. This does not mean that they should directly interfere in their child’s homework nor should they just leave their child to study alone. What is necessary is a balance between the two concepts wherein a parent should assist but from the limits of an advisory capacity. As such, this report chooses the last option out of the different options that were developed.
It is possible that an adequate solution to this dilemma lies in the gray area between interference and independence. While it is true that being more involved in the project would create a better outcome, it has been established that a child cannot adequately learn under such a methodology. Letting a child be completely independent when it comes to a project could also have some negative ramifications since they may pursue a certain line of action while neglecting some aspects they should be aware of (ex: not including all parts in the project).
All children need guidance and assistance, but they should also be allowed to develop on their own without overt interference. As such, the best strategy, in this case, would be to provide support but in a purely advisory capacity by pointing out what they did wrong, how they can potentially improve on the work but letting them do all the work necessary for the project’s completion.
Implement and Reflect
Children need to learn to how to be independent, but parents should be there to guide them on the right way to do things. This applies not only to social situations and individual interactions but on how parents approach the way in which they assist their children. What is necessary in this case is to achieve a balance between interference and assistance wherein a parent should only provide guidance when it comes to explaining how a particular problem could be resolved but not doing all the steps necessary for the child in question.
As such, the best outcome for this case is for the parent to point out to the child where they neglected a few steps, provide some advice on what they could potentially do to resolve the problem and let them perform the project on their own. This helps to develop a child’s capacity to solve problems independently from their parents and would result in them being influenced to pursue a path where they seek to accomplish goals using their own abilities rather than rely on someone else to do it for them.
Overall, this case shows how not all problems have a “right or wrong” answer since the possible solutions that were shown had their own positive merits. To resolve a problem, sometimes it is necessary to look at it from a different perspective or to look at the “middle path” when it comes to addressing two competing ideas.
Horvat, E. M., & Baugh, D. E. (2015). Not all parents make the grade in today’s schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(7), 8.
Rodriguez, R. J., & Elbaum, B. (2014). The Role of Student–Teacher Ratio in Parents’ Perceptions of Schools’ Engagement Efforts. Journal Of Educational Research, 107(1), 69.
Shiffman, C. D. (2011). Making It Visible: An Exploration of How Adult Education Participation Informs Parent Involvement in Education for School-Age Children. Adult Basic Education & Literacy Journal, 5(3), 161.
Yoder, J., & Lopez, A. (2013). Parent’s Perceptions of Involvement in Children’s Education: Findings from a Qualitative Study of Public Housing Residents. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 30(5), 415.