PORTLAND – As kids return to school and start to get homework, many parents wonder how much they should help their children with the projects.
A recent article on about.com said a survey showed that more than 40 percent of parents said they actually do some of the homework themselves, for their kids.
Teachers said it’s great to help, but doing the work is going too far.
“I believe homework should be an absolute necessary extension of learning," said teacher Brooke Warren, with Arts and Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton. From grade school to middle school to high school, the teachers all agreed that the only way a student could fail a homework assignment was not to do it.
“There's really no wrong answer when they're doing homework, even if it’s more for the experience. So if they want to get help from their parents, I encourage that," Warren said.
But she added that students should seek that help from their parents only after they've tried to master it themselves.
“I would prefer not to have a perfect slate because mom and dad spent an hour afterwards with the child reworking every problem," said Elisabeth Sturman, a teacher at Wy’east Middle School in Vancouver.
Some teachers tell parents to try circling the problems that prove to be the most challenging for their children and then encourage them to begin there.
Parents also wonder how much time each child should spend on homework each night.
Experts have suggested that ten minutes of homework a night per grade level is a good rule of thumb for elementary school students. They said in addition, students should also read nightly.
By middle school and high school, the National Education Association said students should be spending as much as a half hour on each subject.
“Homework for especially math and languages really needs to happen every day and my suggestion to parents is 20 minutes to 30 minutes, don't push it," said Geoff Hunnicutt, a teacher at ACMA High School.
“Wrong answers are great, I mean that's feedback for me as a teacher that this kid needs help and maybe the class needs help,” added Wy’east Middle School teacher Sasha Hawthorn.
The about.com report also said that dads were more likely than moms to do their child’s homework. A total of 700 parents with children under the age of 18 took part in the study.
More expert advice: