Should You Help Your Kids with Homework?

Posted on Apr 20, 2021 by 8 Comments

I was shocked when my daughter came home and presented me with a science report that had a note from her teacher which read, “Isn’t your mom an editor? Have her look through this and resubmit.”

She then proceeded to tell me that all of her teachers feel like she should have perfectly polished papers, given that I edit textbooks for a living.


Of course I want to help her. And of course I cringe every time I see a comma splice, but is it my place to step in and correct them? And if so, how often should I do it?

This leaves me torn. If I look over her paper, how thorough of an edit do I give it? I don’t want to mark everything because I feel that it would give her an unfair advantage over other students. But at the same time, if her teachers expect that I am correcting her papers at home, I don’t want her unfairly graded either.

At parent-teacher conferences I brought this up, and while the teachers understood my predicament, they all advised me to edit, edit, edit. After all, “It will help her stay on all-honors.”

But I’m left wondering what she’s going to learn if I fix everything. Or, even if I just point out every mistake and she has the opportunity to fix it before turning it in. That’s not how college works … or even the workplace.

I also needed to assess whether my ego was getting in the way; what kind of editor would I be seen as if my kid was turning in shoddy papers?

So now I turn to you. How much help do you give to your kids when it comes to school projects? Am I over-analyzing things? Does your need for your child to have the perfect project make it hard to keep it in perspective?

Let’s discuss.

photo credit: soapbox.SUPERSTAR

Posted in: Parenting

Read more posts by


  • Lisa @ Two Bears Farm

    Interesting. Well, I haven’t quite reached that point, since my oldest is only 5. I’d say that I would want him to do the homework himself, but would help if he got stuck, and I would check it over to make sure he put appropriate effort into it. But as to editing - nah!

  • busy kids=happy mom

    As a teacher, I have a hard time not helping with homework. For the most part, they do it on their own and I check it. If there are a ton of mistakes, I will choose ONE area to focus on (periods, spelling, capitalization) to correct. I feel that we are setting our kids up for failure if we help them for too long. As they enter the high school years we need to start moving away so they can be more independent.

  • Joanne

    Yes you are over-analyzing :) Many times it depends on the teacher. My daughters math teacher announced at a parent meeting, “don’t help them with their homework because let’s face it, you don’t know it.” Everyone seem to laugh but me .

    It is my belief that as a parent we can give our child the one on one connection/tutoring/attention that they cannot get in school. In addition, by going over their homework, we know what they are learning and we know when they are struggling and where. I believe we keep them from falling behind because when we help with homework, we can see when something doesn’t seem right and can talk to the teacher. This makes me think of an analogy. I’ve heard research that says that elderly who are visited more frequently in the nursing home is more likely to get better care then the ones who are not visited.

    If in the long run you don’t know if you are overstepping your boundaries, talk to the teacher.

  • Julie C.

    That’s crazy. You are great at grammar and punctuation, but why should that influence your child’s ability to do her homework? The skills are not always inherited and, if her teacher has not spent time teaching grammar and language skills, how does she expect your daughter to KNOW them?

    I believe that parents need to be the cheerleaders, not the quarterbacks, when it comes to their children’s homework. Encouraging, asking questions, keeping them focused and making the odd suggestion, but not getting their hands dirty and building the projects and writing the papers.

    You can’t LEARN if you don’t make mistakes and then practice some more.

  • Adventures In Babywearing

    I “guide” my kindergartener with his homework (he has the most out of all my kids) but he has to do it himself. I do have to sit with him while he does it, to be sure it gets finished. As for my 4th grader, he’s on his own and seems to do fine. If he needs help he will always ask, but that’s rare.


  • Pauline

    As a teacher and a mother, I believe I am my children’s first and best teacher. I would never write or fix mistakes for my children, but I will teach them grammar rules and show them how to fix their mistakes. I would rather teach them about the beauty of the written word and help them to appreciate language, then leave it to a stranger who may not love writing as much as I do, regardless of his or her teacher-title.

  • Pauline

    *than not then*


    I generally try to not help/interfere with my kids’ homework. If they ask for help, I’ll try to guide them a little bit, but by no means will I help out a lot — I don’t think parents should interfere too much in homework, unless it’s a little guidance/explanation.