Survey says many parents don’t understand their children’s homework


The National Center for Family Literacy just conducted a new study regarding parents and their childrens’ homework. The results, gathered from online surveys, revealed that nearly 50 percent of children from first to 12th grade experience some degree of difficulty as they attempt to provide their kids with homework help. More than 46 percent said the reason they have so much trouble is because they don’t understand the subject matter themselves.

Why is it that parents can’t seem to help their kids? Carol Russell, instructor of English, said she doesn’t believe it is a new problem, but that each generation experiences this. As a professor who previously taught middle school and high school for seven years, she said she experienced the same thing fifteen years ago.

“[The parents] didn’t go to school to be teachers. They didn’t go to school to pursue a career in teaching. Many of them don’t feel comfortable in that role. It’s not that they’re not capable; it’s that they have this umbrella of fear that they will be teaching their children incorrectly,” Russell said.

When Russell encountered parents struggling in her own classroom, she said she approached them the same way she did her students.

“If parents came to me, I treated my parents the exact same way I treated my students: if you don’t understand it, let’s sit down and learn it together,” Russell said.

Emma Miller, freshman in elementary education, said she thinks the pace of the curriculum is a big part of the problem.

As the world advances, the education of students has to keep up. This includes making the content tougher and the pace that the material is covered quicker,” Miller said.

Even as a freshman, Miller said she recognizes this as an issue and is already thinking about how she will deal with it in her own classroom.

“I will hopefully help this problem in my classroom by communicating with the parents and keeping them in the loop about what I’m teaching and what I want their children to learn,” Miller said.

Hannah Pralle, junior in secondary education, agreed with Miller that it is the fast-paced curriculum taught in schools that is causing kids to learn more than their parents were taught. In order to address the problem in her own classroom, Pralle said she plans to send a sheet home with her students explaining the concepts with examples.

Rebecca Walmann, senior in secondary education, is currently student teaching at Junction City High School. She also noted a progression of intensity in education.

“Coursework is also getting more rigorous, and we are expecting more out of our students in order to ensure success in either college or in their careers,” Walmann said.

Walmann added that teachers try to stay in contact with parents when they know a student needs help.

“We are offering students to check out a book for their parents to read along with them to help them understand the text,” Walmann said.

The NCFL suggests two different websites for parents to visit: Thinkfinity or, both of which contain curriculum information used in schools across the country.

In addition to the websites, parents are encouraged to talk to the teacher, who might already have solutions to remedy the homework problem.