- At Home
Should parents go online to check their kids’ grades and homework?
The iconic overstuffed student’s backpack is quickly becoming a relic of the past and as a result, the way parents oversee their children’s progress in school will never be the same.
With an estimated four out of five K-12 schools having some sort of presence on the internet, teachers are quickly turning to paperless web portals with names like Edline, Blackboard, Homelink and MyBackPack to make assignments, provide virtual handouts and communicate with parents. The advantages to students and parents alike are many. Students no longer have to retrieve reams loose pages from their backpacks. And instead of relying on handouts and notices hand-carried by their children, parents now have a direct line of communications with the school staff.
The Dark Side to Portals
There is, however, a dark side to these portals. The power of this technology gives parents the ability to tap into their child's account, track assignments and take day-to-day control of when and how their children do their daily homework. I believe a certain amount of hovering is appropriate for elementary school student. But as tempting as it may be parents to for access the portal and oversee the completion of homework each week, parents of middle school and high school students must largely resist this impulse. The most precious gift a parent can give to their child is the ability to confidently navigate life independently.
Going Online to Hover
I was taken aback recently to learn that a parent I work with in my tutoring practice taps into 16-year-old son's school portal each day and prints out his assignments so they will be before him when he gets home from school. When asked why, she responded, "If I didn't he would never do them." I worry about this student once he goes to college because he has never developed the organizational and time management skills he will soon need for success.
What is the proper role for a parent in this age of school internet portals in overseeing the completion of homework and projects and studying for tests?
Here’s what I recommend:
In the end, portals are highly effective means of keeping track of assignments, tests, and other communication. They should be used primarily by students, not by parents who insist on going online to hover.