2 minutes reading time (401 words)

Learning to Accept Help

Some of my summer school students feel like accepting my help means I am doing the work for them. They would rather turn in lower quality work and do it totally by themselves. This is admirable -- that they want to do the work all by themselves -- but there are times when accepting help is the right thing to do.

When should you encourage your child to accept help?

  • If a skill deficit is keeping your daughter from showing how much she knows, she should get help to accommodate. For example, while reading and writing skills are being remediated, it is appropriate to read and take dictation from her for tests and projects. If she has a summer reading project to complete, perhaps taking dictation on it is appropriate.
  • If reading comprehension is low, having a book read to your son is appropriate. An alternate way to help is for him to use text-to-speech software or an audible recording of the book. (My Kindle will read some books and others are available as audible recordings that the Kindle will play.) Many of my students use text-to-speech readers to help them do their summer reading book. What most people do not realize is that this actually takes longer than for a good reader to read silently! These students are actually working harder to achieve at the same level as others who have better skills.
  • Unless prohibited by the teacher, it is okay to help your son spell words. Many teachers do not mind their students getting help with spelling. This encourages them to use their good vocabulary rather than reverting to simple words they are sure they can spell.
  • It is okay to use a calculator to help work problems in math as long as your daughter continues to drill basic facts in order to learn them. Use time this summer to drill basic facts so she will be able to be more efficient solving math problems when school starts. But, in the meantime the calculator can be helpful.

A simple rule of thumb is to make sure that whatever help your child gets, they are doing their own thinking. As long as what you are doing is helping them overcome a skill deficit, it should be okay. Hopefully, it will lead to more success in school and better grades. If you are not sure, give your child's teacher a call.

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

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