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How Much Help Should I Provide?

July 17, 2017

One of the things that parents (and professional teachers) often struggle with is how much help to provide to your children. As homeschoolers, we often hear independent learning stressed. This is important for many of us, especially those who are homeschooling several children of different ages and ability levels. Many of us even have infants or toddlers at home who also need our attention. 

 

It’s a tough balancing act - trying to provide the support your children need while encouraging independence. One common strategy that teachers use is the I Do - We Do - You Do strategy. Many textbooks are set up with this strategy in mind, but they rarely make that point explicit. I routinely use this strategy with both of my boys, particularly in math. 

 

 The I Do phase can include one example or many, depending on how quickly your child is grasping the skill or concept being taught. During this phase, the parent educator models the skill or concept and its application. 

 

 

The We Do phase also includes as few or as many examples as possible. The parent educator and child work through the problems together. The child takes the lead with the parent following along helping only when needed. When you believe your child has a decent grasp of the concept, move on to the next phase. 

 

The You Do phase is where the child practices and demonstrates his or her mastery of the new concept or skill. Homeschooling families have a huge benefit here. In schools, students are often given worksheet or textbook problems that they all have to complete. But you can individualize. Give only as much You Do work as you believe your child needs. Break it up over several days if you believe that is necessary. 

 

Overall, be flexible. One of my sons stresses out about his math work. I Do several practice problems teaching him several approaches to solving the problem. Then We Do the strategy that makes the most sense to him together. In the You Do phase, he does several problems independently, showing his work only on ones that he misses the first time as he (and sometimes we) figure out what needed to be done differently. 

 

Age/Grade: Elementary; Middle; High School

 

Subject: All

 

Learning Style/Preference: Visual and Hands-On

 

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