Should I Look Over My Kid's Homework?


Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My son just started 5th grade and I noticed that when I check his homework, he is making many more mistakes. Should I be correcting them? I feel like if I say "look at number 8 again" that signals to him that there's a problem. Isn’t that like cheating?

Mathy Mama



Dear Mathy,

You know I'm pretty sure that when we were kids this is one problem that our parents didn’t have. At least mine didn't. Because if they ever looked at my attempts at math homework, they rolled their eyes and got me to a tutor, STAT.

Yes, in my day, we did our homework up the hill in the snow backwards and our parents stayed out of it. Because they had other things to do and "you're a bit of a math moron, aren't you, Marinka?" Sorry. Flashbacks.

But things are different today. We want our kids to succeed and for some reason that often means that we don't want them to make mistakes. Even relatively harmless ones on their homework that don't have life-altering consequences.

It's not cheating so much as not allowing him to turn in his own work. Wait, what's cheating again?

Ask yourself why you are checking your son's homework. If it's to make sure it's getting done, that's one thing. But if it's to catch any errors before he hands in his work then I don't think what you are doing is helpful. Because making mistakes is part of learning. And seeing those mistakes on the homework is one of the ways that the teacher knows your son isn't understanding a concept. Or that he's making a careless mistake. In either event, the teacher needs to know.

If you are concerned about your son's performance, talk to the teacher. Ask her if she's seeing the same mistakes you are and if she has any suggestions. It wouldn't hurt to ask if she thinks you should check his homework or not. Chances are she'll tell you to leave the homework to her. See? Teachers really do know best!

Good luck,
Marinka, TMH


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