Parents, Put Down That Homework!

Parents today are often heavily involved. They spend time helping children with homework, working with them to improving test scores, volunteering with school events and more.

But, a recent study says that the results of all that parental support has little impact on the academic achievement of their children. In other words, relax. Stop pushing to be so involved in the studying, homework, and college aspirations of your children.

homework from a book
make your own book

A recent study says parental involvement with homework and school does not produce student success.

This latest study, one of the largest ever conducted about the subject, focused on pinpointing how much, or little, parental involvement affects academic achievement.

Conducted by Keith Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Angel L. Harris, a sociology professor at Duke, the pair discovered that for the most part, parental involvement has very little long-lasting impact on how children do in school.

The Study

The researchers studied longitudinal surveys over the span of 3 decades, involving parents across the country. The surveys tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in their children’s’ academic lives, including helping with homework, discussing future college plans, and the parents’ level of volunteering at the schools.

The study homed in on whether the highly-involved parents had children who improved or excelled academically over time. Involvement level was compared to children’s academic performance, including test scores in reading and math.

The results not only showed little correlation with academic success and parental involvement, but in some case the involvement actually backfired and achievement diminished.

Should You Still Review Homework?

The basic answer? Yes, but in moderation. The results, published in The Broken Compass: Parental Involvement With Children’s Education, indicates that reviewing you child’s homework will not actually boost standardized test scores.

Here are few other surprising findings:

  • After kids reach middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down. Robinson attributed this to parents not understanding or remembering the material and giving poor guidance.
  • Similarly, students whose parents frequently meet with teachers or principals don’t improve any more than academically comparable peers whose parents are less involved at school.
  • Volunteering in your child’s class to help with lessons, as well as advising your teen on how to choose their courses for high school, leaves children anxious.
  • The worst? Punishing kids for getting bad grades or instituting strict rules about homework actually creates academic anxiety and even a dislike for school.

Robinson speculates. “Ask them ‘Do you want to see me volunteering more? Going to school social functions? Is it helpful if I help you with homework? We think about informing parents and schools what they need to do, but too often we leave the child out of the conversation.”

homework of writing a book
Have fun to write your own book

What should a parent do to help academics? Encourage fun activities that inspire learning, not strict rules.

What to Do Instead

According to, there are many activities and ideas you can try to have fun and encourage learning in a more relaxed manner. The trick is to find the ones that inspires your children the most and to keep the focus on fun. Create activities and games with words or numbers, write poetry or short stories to read at bedtime.

Create a collection of stories and publish them so your children have the pride of being an author and let them illustrate their stories too! According to an article on, your mission as a parent is to make it fun.