Families & the Community

Survey Finds Half of Parents Struggle With Their Children’s Homework

By Karla Scoon Reid — September 18, 2013 1 min read
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A new survey finds nearly 50 percent of parents making an almost taboo admission: They struggle to help their children with their homework. And many parents—46.5 percent—simply don’t understand the subject matter.

The National Center for Family Literacy partnered with Google to survey parents with students in grades 1 through 12 last month about their ability to help with their children’s homework. The online poll which was released Tuesday includes the responses of roughly 300 parents from two surveys.

Almost a third of parents said their homework frustrations were because “my child doesn’t want my help.” Another 21.9 percent admitted that they were “too busy” to spend time reviewing homework.

“The most alienating and scary moments in any parent’s life come when we feel powerless to give our kids what they need,” Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of the NCFL, said in a release.

The Louisville, Ky.,-based group is offering parents some guidance to help mitigate their homework frustrations.

The center’s Wonderopolis.org offers information about the Common Core State Standards as well as science, technology, engineering, and math topics. Parents can find educational apps that students can use during downtime, like commuting. And lastly, the NCFL encourages parents to talk with teachers about how learning can be reinforced at home.

Update: While the NCFL didn’t survey parents about the amount of homework their children bring home, The Atlantic’s Karl Taro Greenfeld writes an interesting piece exploring his harrowing homework experiment. Greenfeld deserves a gold star for committing to completing his 13-year-old’s homework for a week for “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me.” (Don’t worry, she had to do it too.) While he’s a whiz at math, instead of completing his reading, he finds himself snoozing.

In the end, Greenfeld is concerned that the emphasis on so much homework doesn’t yield enough positive results and he cites plenty of research to back his conclusion. Some Education Week readers are wondering if parents spend too much time hovering over their children while they do their homework.

Me? I just look forward to the summer when there’s no homework for anyone.

See our full coverage of parent empowerment issues.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.