I can write about this because I have seen the success kids can have, from the inside. Parents don't have to sit and help their kids with homework, you simply have to prepare the child to want to do it, to want to do the hard work to get ahead. Parents are not the ones in class, so how can you do the homework? I did not have to help my kids with homework.
It is easy to do if you understand what needs to be done. Children are distracted from all sides with issues that they sometimes do not understand in the world, and the parent has to realize this and steady the child, by talking to them and explaining things on their level. This helps to keep the children calm and steady as they face the challenges of getting a good education.
The earlier you start to inspire your child it will greatly improve their trajectory. They can get into advanced classes and programs given at their schools. Essentially you want to get them in an advanced program by grade school, sometime before middle school.
It may be something as simple as showing them expensive things like nice cars and houses and letting them know that they are capable of getting these things with a good education and a good job. It is not that we are trying to make the child grow up to be materialistic, it is a parent's trick to inspire their child... like Santa Clause being real. Children will believe you, so make the fantasy and the stories grand.
As they get older, they understand more and you introduce them to the idea of doing good things and having pride in themselves, you teach them that they can become great leaders and that everyone will appreciate their leadership qualities. You impress upon them how far they can get by being a strong leader, and you always remind them of how proud you are of them, re-enforcing that they have your support.
I taught my kids that there is no word called 'best' in their vocabulary. Instead they should focus on the word 'better' and use that to propel themselves forward. So if they came home with a 90 on their test or grade B in something, then they will build on that tomorrow and better that grade. In short, best means something final, the end on their effort, while bettering that grade is what they want to work on each day. So they are always climbing upward.
Be prepared to give the child an extra boost by paying for extra lessons, I did... so they can use that boost to get into the advanced classes. The advanced classes get a better deal, they go from middle school to the best high schools. At these better high schools, they get to compete for scholarships given by companies who will pay for their collage costs and give them a great job when the kids graduate.
It is the difference between a starting salary of under $50k, and one over that amount. I have seen kids who start with $100k salaries... so the sky is the limit if you as the parent get inside their heads at an early age.
The new fad is parents are using all sorts of excuses to prevent their kids from taking standardized testing, thinking they are doing something good for their kids when it is really the opposite. Children who are not allowed to prepare for and do the tests, are being held back academically, and they will suffer those consequences later on.
Both my kids went to public school in Queens NY, from PS 100, to PS 124, Then to MS226 and then on to Stuyvesant High School. So they stayed in the public school system from start to finish, the point being the schools and the teaching curriculum is fine, the secret is the child and what the parent puts in their heads to prepare them for learning in school. When children are inspired then you don't have to do much, just a little guidance and inspiration along the way... I did this.
All this talk about charter schools and vouchers is just garbage. In my opinion it does not matter if you put your child in the newest or best rated school. If your child does not want to pay attention in class and learn, and absorb the work being taught... nothing will happen. You as the parent have to inspire your child at the earliest opportunity, when you can still mold their little minds, and just hold their hands and guide them along the way.
Don't distract your child with anything outside of study and play. To do so may be your and their undoing. Whether its common core or something else, testing is great to identify the areas that kids are weaker in, and then you as the parent finds solutions, like extra lessons... don't find excuses, to stop their testing. I have written on this subject before.