When to Help a Student and When Not to Help

This is a very difficult thing to decide as a homeschool parent. If one’s goal is to fill in all the blanks of all the workbooks, it is much more expedient for the parent to help the child fill them in as quickly as possible. But has learning taken place? Doubtful. On the other hand, it is not good for a student to beat his or her head against a stonewall and become frustrated because he or she is not receiving any help.

To further complicate the issue, what happens if one suspects the student of being lazy? If the student seems to be grasping a new concept but suddenly cannot complete the assigned work, has he or she hit a true mental snag? Or is the student simply not wanting to put forth any effort?

Here are some ideas to help a student who has suddenly stalled out in his or her daily assignments. First, take a short break. This can be as simple as letting the child come outside while mom is hanging up laundry. Next, do a quick review to help the student refresh his or her memory and to build some confidence. If the parent still suspects that there is a character flaw involved, perhaps now is the time to have a discussion about diligence, perseverance, etc.

Sometimes the student just needs a little bit of affirmation. Tell them “good job.” The student may also be craving some additional attention. Now is an opportunity to give some encouragement.

Whatever the cause, the most important thing to do when situations like this arise is to maintain a patient and loving attitude.


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