Finding a balance between taking an interest and being invasive can be challenging with teenagers.
But doing something is definitely better for them and their learning than doing nothing.
Some time ago an article by Pallavi Singhal in The Age highlighted that Australian parents spend less time helping their children with school work when compared to parents around the world.
Parents in Australia spend on average 4.4 hours/week compared with the 6.7 hours/week parents around the world spend helping their children academically. Parents who spend 7 or more hours helping their children academically in Australia sits at 13%, whilst this is at 25% for parents around the world.
But there is not necessarily any cause for alarm as ‘there does not appear to be a clear link between student performance and the amount of academic help provided by parents, with parents in top-performing countries such as Japan, spending an average of 2.6 hours a week helping their children, the least of any country.’
Lack of time, subject knowledge or competency and limited information from schools can all be barriers to helping our children more. But there are many things we can do to help our children - even without sufficient time, knowledge or information.
Conversations about your child’s learning is a start. Don’t just ask how their day was, ask what they learnt today, dig deeper with follow up questions, get your child to explain concepts to you. This not only shows that you take an interest in their academic progress, but also enables them to reinforce what they have learnt by teaching you – as they say, the best way to learn is to teach.
Ask to see their work. Students should feel a sense of pride in their work, if they don’t want to show you, maybe they know they could or should have made more of an effort. If you (and they) feel comfortable, you might like to provide some constructive feedback. You can, at a minimum, talk to them about what it took to get their work to that stage and what are the next steps in their learning that will take it to the next level. Remember that work can always be proofed, redrafted, or refined.
Finding a balance between taking an interest and being invasive can be challenging with teenagers. But doing something is definitely better for them and their learning than doing nothing.