Before You Answer
If you are helping your children with homework, think of this before you answer them. While I am primarily talking about helping your children in this particular blog, these tips work for any learner. More about this later.
1. Have your children read and understood the directions?
A good way to know if they have read and understood the directions is to have them verbally explain what they are supposed to do. If they are unable to say it, they don’t know.
The same method works if you are reading the directions to them or explain a procedure. Ask for feedback: “Now, what are you going to do here?”
2. Have your children thought about the subject or assignment?
They need to engage with the material. Simply waiting for someone to ‘give’ them the answer does nothing to help them learn. Learning is an active process that requires one to do something. In order to learn, you must participate!
Of course, sometimes it is fine to provide information or an answer when explaining or drawing out a procedure. Examples often provide this kind of information.
Many students skip the directions and examples altogether and go straight to asking for the answer from a teacher, parent, tutor, and so on. One might think this is the Google generation; but, this is not true. It has existed long before the internet.
3. Have they made an honest attempt before asking for help?
This is not an easy one to determine in every case; but, when in doubt, look at point two above. Ask them to explain what they are doing or what they believe they are supposed to be doing. Look at the book or paper to see how far along they got before getting “stuck.”
Making mistakes is better than doing nothing because it means they are working it out. We learn so much from our mistakes as long as we take the time to correct them.
By all means, be available to assist your children whenever possible, but do not jump in too quickly.
When you do assist, try to lead them to the answer rather than providing the complete answer right away. In other words, use hints, questions, or steps toward the final goal.
See how far they can get at each stage as well. A student rarely has zero knowledge of a topic or concept, so discover how far he or she can go independently each step along the journey.
Helping your children become stronger independent learners will pay huge dividends.
I mentioned at the beginning that these tips work for any learner. You can apply them to your own learning. Ask yourself the same questions. Have you read – thoroughly – the directions and looked at the examples? Have you thought about the subject at length? Have you given the questions or assignment an honest try? In many cases, you can even walk yourself through the procedures to reaching the goal step-by-step. We often don’t know what we know until we challenge ourselves and begin. The “doing” is essential. Of course, if you hit the wall, so to speak, seeking help is advised. There is nothing wrong with getting help when you need it after having tried your best.
Need more help? Check out the book, or book a free information meeting.
Teach Myself? Teach Myself!
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