Help for Helping with Homework
Dads might have left their calculus problems and English papers behind, but now their kids must endure the same torture. From kindergarten to senior year, kids are given homework assignments, and they are going to need help, even if they don’t ask for it, during all those years.
So, how does a busy dad help his befuddled first grader with very simple worksheets? Patience is the answer. The “2+2” problems and subject-underlining might seem maddening to an adult brain, but to a seven-year-old, they seem impossible. A dad should sit down with his kid and slowly explain what he or she doesn’t understand and do a problem from the worksheet together. Of course, sometimes seven-year-olds are not exactly eager to complete their homework, so dads should add some fun by offering a cookie before dinner when they complete their math problems correctly or just offering a high-five or hug to reward their good work. That’s all it takes. In fifteen minutes or less, the first grader feels more confident, and the dad gets the satisfaction of truly helping his son or daughter.
During the middle school and high school years, the going gets a little tougher. Standards for what kids should know are continually raised so that an eighth grader might be learning concepts that his or her dad learned in tenth grade. If a calculus problem looks closer to Chinese than math, dads can visit the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s homework hotline at www.askrose.org; this service also offers science help. For combating English problems, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) at owl.english.purdue.edu offers a range of aid and is a common resource for English teachers. These years are also the time when kids stop asking for help, and dads need to watch out for slipping grades. Offering help translates to a teen as criticism, so dads should be wary of forcing help or becoming angry when their teens quickly turn them down. A dad letting him or her know that he is always available if help is needed goes a long way, and dads might be surprised by how quickly their offer for help is taken.
Dads, don’t cringe with the thought of facing the horrors of homework once more. With today’s resources, even calculus can be conquered. Besides these resources, your arsenal should include a bit of time and a whole lot of patience, and just like the multiplication tables, practice makes perfect (or pretty close).