Apparently helping your children with their homework has no measurable difference in standardized test scores.
I have always thought that children whose parents were interested in their school work did better. Admittedly it’s not something that I had any proof of, it was a gut feeling. It also seems that this is an area of study in education that has been neglected. Until now. Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris combed through three decades of information pertaining to different ways that parents help their children at school, and what they found was surprising. They found that amongst other things,
Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire—regardless of a parent’s race, class, or level of education.
In fact they go onto say, once children enter middle school parental ‘help’ when it comes to homework actually hinders not helps.
Their book “The Broken Compass” talks about lots of other data which deals with more than just test scores. If you haven’t time to read the book then there’s a great article in the Atlantic Magazine that summarizes nicely the main points of the book. The article ends with what a pertinent point. That those parents who are involved tend to do things that benefit the whole school, not just their own children.
When I coached swimming our head coach always said that achievement in the swimming pool depended on a three way relationship. the relationship between the athlete, the coach and the parent. Of course competitive swimming is a little different from school but I still think that the advice is sound. Parents may not need to be involved in the minutiae of their child’s schooling for them to do well. That said, I believe, parents need to value education. If it’s important to them then more likely their children will value it as well. They need to be interested in how their children are doing. Admit it or not, consciously or unconsciously we all strive to please our parents. Last but not least, parents need to support their child’s teachers and school.
So while it may be true that parental involvement doesn’t necessarily help children improve their test scores I am certain that ambivalent parents could hinder performance at school.