4 Strategies For When You Realize You Can't Help Your Kids with Their Homework

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Let's get real, parents: sometimes homework can be more than we bargained for. So, what exactly should you do when you realize that your child's homework is over your head? Continue reading to explore four strategies that can come in handy when the going gets tough during homework time.

Homework Help

If you're like most parents, you know that helping your children with their homework can occasionally (or frequently) be a struggle. This, of course, depends on the subject and assignment at hand, and whether or not you have a solid understanding of the topic. Nowadays, the methods by which some skills and subjects are taught may differ significantly from the way they were taught when you were in school (i.e., math). So even if you think that you're well informed about a subject, some assignments can easily throw you for a loop.

So, what should you do when you realize that you can't help your child on a homework assignment? The following strategies can be of assistance.

frustrated mother and child doing homework

1. Stay Calm and Optimistic

The first strategy that we're going to look at (and perhaps the most important) focuses on staying calm and optimistic during tough homework moments. It's very easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed when faced with challenging homework assignments, and that frustration can quickly cause tension and result in arguments with your child, which can lead to him or her become discouraged.

Rather than letting challenging homework get the best of you, be honest with your child and let him or her know that even though you can't help at that particular moment, you'll do everything that you possibly can to help him or her ''get it.'' If your child sees that you can remain calm and positive under pressure or during tough times, he or she may be more likely to carry that attitude into future homework assignments and throughout life.

child and mother working on homework

2. Reach Out to the Teacher

Our next strategy for addressing difficult homework assignments involves reaching out to the teacher as soon as possible and letting him or her know that an assignment is giving you a run for your money. Although you might feel a bit embarrassed, most teachers are more than willing to help out, especially when they see that parents are legitimately trying to be a part of their child's education. These days, your best bet for quick communication may be email, although some teachers also use apps such as Remind to stay in touch with parents.

Depending on his or her schedule and availability, your child's teacher may invite you in for a tutoring session to help you understand how things are taught and what strategies to use for homework. Or, maybe the teacher will have some instant advice for the particular question or issue at hand that can be applied that same evening. Either way, reaching out right away can help you and your child quickly get on the right track.

parent and teacher talking in school

3. Utilize Online Educational Resources

The next strategy makes use of the good old Internet. Nowadays, you can find just about anything online. If you're stuck on a homework assignment, try doing a quick Google search for the topic or even the individual problem. There are many sites that offer step-by-step instructions that can help you and your child work through the issue.

There are also online courses available in all subjects that can serve as a substitute for your child's in-school learning. These courses offer engaging video lessons that make concepts easier for you and your child to grasp.

4. Find a Tutor

Whether you're having a hard time helping with homework or you're simply too busy to do so, hiring a tutor for your child can also be a very helpful strategy. Many schools have programs that pair students with peer tutors who may be older or more advanced in certain subjects. Alternatively, maybe you know someone whom you could hire to help, such as a family friend or relative.

Unfortunately, some kids may feel ashamed that they need a tutor. So make sure that your child knows that having a tutor doesn't mean that he or she isn't smart. Rather, explain that a tutor can potentially make assignments much easier to understand and help out with homework when you cannot.

student and tutor working

Using the Strategies

Now that you're familiar with some strategies to use when you can't help your children with their homework, hopefully your homework struggles will become fewer and farther between. Just knowing that there are resources and help available should be reassuring to both you and your child.

Are you a parent who would like to help your child better understand his or her homework, and maybe even get better grades? Be sure to explore Study.com's student memberships today!

By Erin Riskey
June 2018
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