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(SFGate)   Parents, if you're trying to help your children with their homework, stop it. You're not helping   (blog.sfgate.com) divider line 85
    More: Interesting, homework, parental involvement, test scores, helping  
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5706 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Mar 2014 at 11:11 PM (39 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-28 12:41:10 AM  

frestcrallen: Shakin_Haitian: people who don't understand number places.

Numbers have places?


If they know what's good for them.
 
2014-03-28 12:42:43 AM  

FriarReb98: gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.

This.


there's also the homework that is assigned to keep them at home (busy work)

check (as I did) if the grades they get match what they can do
ie  well johnny  a's and b's great   whats this in the chapter you just finished
                                                       gee I don't know

school causes so much damage to learning
 
2014-03-28 12:47:55 AM  

gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.


Yeah.  I think most parents provide too focused help.
 
2014-03-28 12:58:33 AM  

Happy Father: You are lucky I never would bring stuff to my mom or grandparents. Bunch of Phd's they actually explained Snells law and diffraction to me when I asked why the sky was blue. I was 5, seriously would have a "because it is" have been too hard?


Got the skinny from Asimov at 7 "Rayleigh Scattering is why the sky's so blue/And testicular hormones are why I love you"  I was told not to repeat it at school, but I was encouraged to use the library to find out what was what and then explain it (my parents were good people).

Used the same method with our daughters.  However, we also provided both a location (where at least one of us could see them) to do nothing but study and do homework. The rule was:  When you find yourself drifting to something other than studying - get up and go do something else until you can concentrate on the task, again.  This was, over the years, very effective (must start early for the drill to take).

/think most parents should get a copy of George Polya's, How to Solve It (not to provide answers but, rather, suggesting the questions one might ask)
 
2014-03-28 01:05:42 AM  

gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.


doned in one
 
2014-03-28 01:06:58 AM  

Crazy Lee: Happy Father: You are lucky I never would bring stuff to my mom or grandparents. Bunch of Phd's they actually explained Snells law and diffraction to me when I asked why the sky was blue. I was 5, seriously would have a "because it is" have been too hard?

Got the skinny from Asimov at 7 "Rayleigh Scattering is why the sky's so blue/And testicular hormones are why I love you"  I was told not to repeat it at school, but I was encouraged to use the library to find out what was what and then explain it (my parents were good people).

Used the same method with our daughters.  However, we also provided both a location (where at least one of us could see them) to do nothing but study and do homework. The rule was:  When you find yourself drifting to something other than studying - get up and go do something else until you can concentrate on the task, again.  This was, over the years, very effective (must start early for the drill to take).

/think most parents should get a copy of George Polya's, How to Solve It (not to provide answers but, rather, suggesting the questions one might ask)


His steps where so helpful as a child I got introduced to them in our 5th grade math club. I think they were in a book of interesting problems titled Ant's Bikes and Clocks.
 
2014-03-28 01:08:34 AM  

frestcrallen: Shakin_Haitian: people who don't understand number places.

Numbers have places?


We're all nothin but a number, right?
 
2014-03-28 01:09:03 AM  

Shakin_Haitian: It's just a short cut for multiplication. It's slightly convoluted but I could see the use for that method for people who don't understand number places.


I think it's elegant, actually. It's not that different from the usual method; you're still multiplying every digit by every other digit, but instead of carrying as you go, you just save all the carrying until the very end. I like it!
 
2014-03-28 01:09:52 AM  
Nice thing about working multiple jobs, just to send the kids to a decent private school.

They learned math, science, literature, foreign languages, and reasonable social skills.

The boy wasn't a problem, the girl wasn't math orientated. After a bout with her over what I thought was her misunderstanding the teacher, turned out to be that the teacher had no idea how to actually do math. Seriously. Over a dozen years of inculcating students, and he had some real basic misunderstandings about Math.

4th Grade math.

She's a lawyer now, maybe because it really doesn't use a lot of math.

She has a big, bossy, arguing mouth, just like her Mom. It's cute to watch, only because it's not directed at me.
 
2014-03-28 01:16:44 AM  

Iszael: Article is BS.  I've had to go to the school and correct the teachers on multiple occasions.

Just yesterday my seventh-grader's science teacher told them they could only taste sweet flavors with the tip of the tongue and all that other insane, easily disprovable "tongue map" stuff that was debunked years ago.


There's a running issue with US science teachers because they're actually usually studying at the level that they're teaching-- e.g. they have an education degree and are looking stuff up as they plan their lessons and have to put a large degree of trust in their reference material that may or may not be merited.  It's not a problem that's easily fixed, because it's rooted in the fact that anyone educated enough for high-school-level stuff to be "common knowledge" (basically people that didn't skip out of their science classes in undergrad by taking "physics for future presidents" and other in-name-only science classes) can usually pretty easily get a 'real' job instead (where you can support a family with one earner etc).

So... basically, while you're not  wrong you're sort of picking on someone who, while they're a dumb motherfarker, isn't really at  fault for being a dumb motherfarker, they're stuck teaching a subject they probably rather wouldn't because there was no one else to do it.

Rather than your chosen tack of helicoptering the hell out of your kid and wasting the teacher's time, maybe consider volunteering to do science demos or something?  My mother used to do those about once a week on the equivalent of her lunch break, showing up at my siblings' elementary school and do simple demos like the old "tie a ball-bearing thrower to a toy train to demonstrate conservation of linear momentum" and so on.

Basically if you see an instructor that's overwhelmed maybe offering to help could be a less-destructive method of intervention rather than showing up to yell at 'em.

// I would say I'm not sure why I have to lecture a grown-ass adult human on basic goddamned conflict resolution that most five-year-olds understand, but unfortunately I  have met parents before.
 
2014-03-28 01:36:45 AM  

Shakin_Haitian: haolegirl: balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)

No thanks!! I have a calculator that works just fine! Any math I have to do at work I do on my phone, just like the doctor does!

Ah, now I understand...


Lol, I have learned to abhor math thanks to my overbearing engineer dad, aunt, uncle, step-mother...and the grandmother who lived with us from the time I was in fifth grade was a school teacher!
 
2014-03-28 02:05:37 AM  
This sounded promising and flowery except:

1) Duke
2) University of TX
 
2014-03-28 02:35:56 AM  
I have visions of teaching my little guy to be a smart-ass, or at least above and beyond what is being taught to him at school.

"Who can name one of the five senses?"
*My son raises hand*
"Yes"
"The sense of time"

I also want to try to teach him to never hold himself back in an attempt to fit in, like I did.

/Of course, the tallest nail...
//Or he could turn into a dumbass. Who knows. He's only 2 1/2.
 
2014-03-28 02:47:03 AM  
Do you know which people guide their children with homework when young  and also supervise homework when they are older?

That is right certain ethnic populations well known for receiving terrible marks at school.

Like Asian and Indian.
 
2014-03-28 03:47:52 AM  

Some Coke Drinking Guy: Now I can tell my ex-wife that I am not lazy, I just want our son to figure things out for himself.

It actually makes sense though.  Kids need to learn to do their work themselves.  They also don't need to get even more confused by asking a parent how to do something, when that parent has no idea them self.


I just finished an AAS in CIS, and as an adult of child bearing age, it drives me crazy when someone takes over and gives me the answer. Lordfortuna actually did that during my first coding semester a couple of times. It was mostly because he had to remember how to do stuff himself, but at least once I ended up just turning in the work he did, because he took long enough we were at the deadline.

/had a terrible prof
//nice guy though
 
2014-03-28 05:41:48 AM  
 They should really add some nuance to that. The current problem is that parents are not helping or being involved with their children's education.  Sure the parent helping their kid might be hindering their kids future progress by doing the work but the biggest issue is that too many parents are doing nothing.
 
2014-03-28 06:11:59 AM  

Guest: Do you know which people guide their children with homework when young  and also supervise homework when they are older?

That is right certain ethnic populations well known for receiving terrible marks at school.

Like Asian and Indian.


Terrorizing children into performing perfectly or else is one form of "guidance." They often turn out to be basketcases, but at least they brought honor to their parents, right?

/The Indians I know just buy their kids anything they want and replace each sports car they wreck, raising grade-A douchebags. Not sure where you get the taskmaster stereotype for them.
 
2014-03-28 06:20:05 AM  

Nexzus: I have visions of teaching my little guy to be a smart-ass, or at least above and beyond what is being taught to him at school.

"Who can name one of the five senses?"
*My son raises hand*
"Yes"
"The sense of time"

I also want to try to teach him to never hold himself back in an attempt to fit in, like I did.

/Of course, the tallest nail...
//Or he could turn into a dumbass. Who knows. He's only 2 1/2.


Teach him about proprioception if you are going to do senses other than the traditional 5. At least that way he'll get to explain to the teacher what proprioception is.
 
2014-03-28 06:56:50 AM  

Jim_Callahan: Iszael: Article is BS.  I've had to go to the school and correct the teachers on multiple occasions.

Just yesterday my seventh-grader's science teacher told them they could only taste sweet flavors with the tip of the tongue and all that other insane, easily disprovable "tongue map" stuff that was debunked years ago.

There's a running issue with US science teachers because they're actually usually studying at the level that they're teaching-- e.g. they have an education degree and are looking stuff up as they plan their lessons and have to put a large degree of trust in their reference material that may or may not be merited.  It's not a problem that's easily fixed, because it's rooted in the fact that anyone educated enough for high-school-level stuff to be "common knowledge" (basically people that didn't skip out of their science classes in undergrad by taking "physics for future presidents" and other in-name-only science classes) can usually pretty easily get a 'real' job instead (where you can support a family with one earner etc).

So... basically, while you're not  wrong you're sort of picking on someone who, while they're a dumb motherfarker, isn't really at  fault for being a dumb motherfarker, they're stuck teaching a subject they probably rather wouldn't because there was no one else to do it.

Rather than your chosen tack of helicoptering the hell out of your kid and wasting the teacher's time, maybe consider volunteering to do science demos or something?  My mother used to do those about once a week on the equivalent of her lunch break, showing up at my siblings' elementary school and do simple demos like the old "tie a ball-bearing thrower to a toy train to demonstrate conservation of linear momentum" and so on.

Basically if you see an instructor that's overwhelmed maybe offering to help could be a less-destructive method of intervention rather than showing up to yell at 'em.

// I would say I'm not sure why I have to lecture a grown-ass adult human ...


Who said I was yelling at them?  I don't yell at teachers, why would I do that?  Do you always jump to conclusions?

Actually, I'm friends with a lot of the teachers and they ask me for favors.  Is doing Watch D.O.G.S. "helicoptering"?  Attending parent/teacher conferences and making suggestions is bad in your opinion?  You know, they send out surveys to find out how they're doing...
 
2014-03-28 07:25:47 AM  

impaler: Happy Father: The issues I see with it come from parents having too much knowledge of the subject. They do not remember the difficulty of learning 5 time 10 is fifty they know it in less than a second. Here is where peer instruction and Hagans strategies become useful. What a good teacher does is record the lecture so it can be played repeatedly at the students leisure. Then you have them answer the questions in class discuss in groups and then answer again. It forces kids to do the heavy lifting with others who understand the obstacles

Can't help but be reminded of that thread the other day where the dad answered his kids logic question about subtraction with the answer to the subtraction example, and not the actual logic question being asked.

And the guy bragged he was an engineer.


That's about what the article was pointing out:
"Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework,"
So I guess part of their problem is not that parents are helping, but that parents are helping poorly?
Some help is worthwhile... some really, really isn't, and that thread certainly drove that home.
 
2014-03-28 07:32:49 AM  

Shakin_Haitian: balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)

It's just a short cut for multiplication. It's slightly convoluted but I could see the use for that method for people who don't understand number places.


The only 'convolution' is that they drew it in a box instead of lining up all the multiplication for different places in a huge vertical stack to add the places.  It's exactly the same mathematical steps, organized in a slightly different shape, which just helps the kids not mess up the places.

I guess this is exactly what the article meant by sometimes helping is bad though...  if you don't get it, it's going to become WAY more complicated than it really is.
 
2014-03-28 07:45:05 AM  

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


That Wiki is horrible.  It is the equivalent to the old "Step 2: Profit!" meme.
Seriously, the step two part of that completely falls on its face.  You don't go bottom to top, you go from right to left following the diagonal down, put the sum outside the grid at the end of the diagonal, carry the one or whatever, if there is one, to the next diagonal and keep going in that manner until you run out of diagonals.
A better description of Lattice is here or here.  It's quite simple but you still need to know basic multiplication to use it.  Its real strength is reinforcing idea of keeping things organized because of positional number weighting.  Most kids mess up because they can't keep their columns straight and they add up things wrong.  This helps alleviate that.
 
2014-03-28 08:04:00 AM  
I pretty much limited my helping to teaching them how to use the text book.  "Oh look, an instruction section followed by several examples, which exactly parallel the same problem that you have!"  I'd go through and explain the examples, but never the actual homework problem.

I'd proofread papers, only after they were written.   Prior to writing, the only advice I'd give was get massive amounts of information that you find interesting, then organize it.

The one thing I did help my kids with was with time organization, and how to use a calendar system to mark the due date and significant project goals on paper.  This freed me from having to nag them to get started on long term projects.  Sometimes the best lesson a parent can teach is to let them learn the consequences of failing.
 
2014-03-28 08:06:42 AM  
I don't "help" with homework. I just check to make sure it's complete, correct and legible.
 
2014-03-28 08:54:28 AM  

FriarReb98: gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.

This.


This, again.

jaylectricity: I helped my mom with her college homework when I was in high school.


I helped my dad with his college homework when I was in junior high, as well.  I still recall some of the work from his Greek class, as well as Hermeneutics.
 
2014-03-28 10:36:29 AM  

Happy Father: The issues I see with it come from parents having too much knowledge of the subject. They do not remember the difficulty of learning 5 time 10 is fifty they know it in less than a second. Here is where peer instruction and Hagans strategies become useful. What a good teacher does is record the lecture so it can be played repeatedly at the students leisure. Then you have them answer the questions in class discuss in groups and then answer again. It forces kids to do the heavy lifting with others who understand the obstacles


I agree. I may know a lot of things, but I don't know how to teach them. I can fumble my way through algebra, but I have great difficulty explaining it to a kid.
 
2014-03-28 10:47:23 AM  

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been arrowound for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


Lattice method: My daughter rox that out when it comes to big-ass numbers. Wish I'd known about it back I the day
 
2014-03-28 11:01:00 AM  
My daughter and I have the high level discussions, not the "operational technicality" type discussions. I will check her work, but I find something, I may not tell what is wrong, but have her work it out. I may quiz her on the weekly spell words.

What I really do is the higher function discussions. Example: She was reading the "stamp act" section of the American Revolution (5th grade). I asker her to tell me about it. She was able to, and I asked "and then what happened?" She cited it as one of the straws that broke the camel's back on the way to the Rev war. Then I said: "No back to our discussion on 0bamacare (previously), what are the people's reaction? What should it be, if they were freakin about stamps on their paper goods, etc?" She was then able to tell me why the Superbowl and Reality TV have destroyed critical thinking with the placebo of modern "Panem et circensis"...

She's too smart for school...we don't do TV, but we read, play games and talk for entertainment.
/square peg, round hole training
//ready to read Orwell, 1984, Animal Farm
///almost ready to read Huxley
////was horrified to hear that Seattle burned for winning SuperBowl, but 0-care receives no burnination
 
2014-03-28 11:11:10 AM  
I love helping my kids with their math homework. My eight-year-old had this thing where she was given a two-by-two set of numbers, and she was supposed to add them going vertically and subtract them going horizontally...including with the results so you would end up with a single result in the bottom right-hand corner. So it looked something like

  A  -  B  = A-B
  +      +       +
  C  -  D  = C-D
=============
(A+C) - (B+D)  = A-B+C-D

Then for the last step she was supposed to make up her own with any four numbers of her choosing. She struggled until I told her she could pick ANY four numbers for the grid and it would work...even if some of the totals turned out to be negative. (Yes, I'd already taught her and her sister about negative numbers when they were very small.) I showed her using letters, as I'd described above.

She got really excited then and started filling in the grid with all kinds of crazy shiat and finding out that the totals worked out, every time. Negative numbers, fractions, whatever. Not sure what the teacher thought when she saw the kid's paper the next day.
 
2014-03-28 11:21:37 AM  

Ulfhednar: She was able to, and I asked "and then what happened?" She cited it as one of the straws that broke the camel's back on the way to the Rev war. Then I said: "No back to our discussion on 0bamacare (previously), what are the people's reaction? What should it be, if they were freakin about stamps on their paper goods, etc?"


Wow, you're an idiot, and you're training your daughter to be one to.

They weren't freaking out about having a tax on paper goods, they were freaking out because they didn't have representation in the government that enacted that tax.
 
2014-03-28 11:22:13 AM  
to = too
 
2014-03-28 12:03:13 PM  

jaylectricity: I helped my mom with her college homework when I was in high school.


Your mom goes to college
 
2014-03-28 03:35:02 PM  

Gulper Eel: As the parent of an eight year old and a ten year old, I could've used this article about FIVE FREAKIN' YEARS AGO.


As the parent of a three year old and a five year old, I'm enjoying this breaking news.
 
2014-03-28 04:07:12 PM  
I usually start by having the kids explain the concept they learned in class to me.  Often times just having them go through the mental organizational process of explaining it to someone else will reveal concepts to them that they did not initially understand.

I'll discuss concepts with them, but focused on what they are doing in class.  Often the concepts they are doing in class are not about solving simple math problems but are more about setting a framework for understanding a complex concept later on.

I personally get a kick out of understanding new ways of doing math that I didn't learn when I was younger.  A better understanding of different ways numbers interact with one another can often open new avenues for problem solving that weren't available before. As a result, I look forward to seeing what new thing the kids are learning in school.

Much to the kids dismay, I even have a large whiteboard where we can work through stuff.
 
2014-03-28 10:52:11 PM  

eeyore102: She got really excited then and started filling in the grid with all kinds of crazy shiat and finding out that the totals worked out, every time. Negative numbers, fractions, whatever. Not sure what the teacher thought when she saw the kid's paper the next day.


Thank you.  You're doing it right.
 
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