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Parents Unable To Help With Homework

Nearly all parents will feel a responsibility to help their children with homework, but it’s emerged that nearly two thirds of British mums and dads feel like they’re bottom of the class when it comes to helping their brood.

The study of 2,000 parents, conducted by Aviva, found that many were unable to help with staple subjects such as maths and science, leaving them feeling red-faced.

Although maths was perhaps unsurprisingly revealed to be the toughest subject, the research also revealed that algebra, fractions and trigonometry are among the least welcome topics at home.

MORE: Why school homework is a pointless exercise

It isn’t just sciences that leave parents scratching their head either, with many admitting that they were unable to grasp the works of Shakespeare, as well as Roman history and the Second World War.

Heather Smith, the Marketing Director of Aviva UK said: ‘The study shows that many parents suffer a lack of confidence in helping with homework and no doubt the list of topics will serve up memories of their classroom days they may not be fond of.

‘However, it’s important that we do everything possible to equip our children in key areas like numeracy from an early age and develop their confidence in these areas.

‘As adults, we might not recall the things we learned about the Romans or the periodic tale, but core skills like literacy and numeracy are so crucial that building confidence in these areas as early as possible should be a priority’.

The study also revealed that four in ten parents admitted there was competition between themselves and other parents over homework, while half of the parents surveyed admitted that they often turned to Google to spare the shame of not being able to provide assistance.

If you happen to be a parent reading this, The top 30 homework topics most dreaded by parents are listed below, just on the off chance that you wanted to share a sense of collective ineptitude.

  1. Algebra
  2. Fractions
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Pythagoras theorem
  5. Ratios
  6. Roman history
  7. Long division
  8. American Civil War
  9. The Periodic Table
  10. Formation of atoms -protons/ neutrons
  11. Spreadsheet formulas
  12. Types of clouds – Cumulus etc.
  13. Technical drawing
  14. Shakespeare
  15. World War I
  16. Circumferences
  17. The Stuarts
  18. Longitude and Latitude
  19. World War II
  20. Similes/alliteration/ poetry terms
  21. Tudors/Henry VIII
  22. Probability
  23. The Industrial revolution
  24. Whole numbers
  25. Prime numbers
  26. The Egyptians
  27. Negative numbers
  28. Photosynthesis
  29. Coastal erosion
  30. Percentages

Five out of six parents struggle to help their pre-adolescent children with their homework, a survey has revealed.

Some 83% of parents with nine to 13-year-olds admitted to pollsters that they had been unable to do homework tasks set for their children.

Fathers find helping with homework harder than mothers do, the survey of 2,000 parents for Becta, the government agency for technology in education, found. The parents were equally split across all socio-economic groups.

More than a third – 35% – of fathers told pollsters they frequently struggled to help their children with homework, compared with 12% of mothers.

Almost a fifth of parents – 19% – said being unable to help with their children's homework made them embarrassed.

Maths, followed by science, causes the most difficulty. Maths was the hardest to help with for 37% of parents, while 27% said science was the most troublesome.

Mothers are more than twice as likely as fathers to name maths as the hardest topic – 49%, compared with 22%. One in three fathers find English is toughest to assist with, compared with 10% of mothers.

The pollsters also quizzed 2,000 nine- to 13-year-olds, 58% of whom said their parents often confuse them when trying to help them with homework because they use out-of-date methods.

Some 37% of the children said they were sometimes unable to finish their homework because there was no one at home who could help them. And 27% said if they could not complete their homework, they felt they were bad at the subject.

Justine Roberts of Mumsnet, an advice website, said mothers and fathers "can actually do more harm than good because you can confuse them by teaching them in a completely different way to the way their teachers teach them".