Is children's homework too hard for parents?

Is homework too hard for parents? [Photo: Getty]
Is homework too hard for parents? [Photo: Getty]

Only a third of parents feel confident helping their child with homework, new research has revealed.

There’s a scene in ‘Incredibles 2’ where Mr Incredible is struggling to help his son with his homework. “They’ve changed the math,” he growls. “Why would they change the math?”

If a recent poll is anything to go by similar scenes are likely playing out in households up and down the country.

The study of 1000 parents, carried out by Oxford Home Schooling, found that nearly a quarter (23%) feel pressurised when their child asks them for help, while nearly a third (31%) feel embarrassed when they’re unable to answer a question.

This could explain why so many parents are now turning to tech to help them with their children‘s homework questions with over three-quarters (76%) admit to using the internet to help with answers.

It seems Alexa and Siri are being drafted in to help out too, with more than one in ten (11%) turning to virtual assistants for homework support.

There’s a gender divide amongst homework helpers too with men feeling more confident advising their little ones than women.

While nearly two in five (39%) dads feel confident and 11% feel very confident in helping with homework, just 28% of mothers feel the same towards helping out.

The age of parents also appears to have an impact, as, generally, the older they are, the lower their confidence to answer questions.

It isn’t just the difficulty of homework which parents have issue with either, but also the frequency. A further study by the home education provider found that a quarter of parents think their child receives too much.

At primary school level, nearly a third (31%) of children spend five or more hours on homework every week, while a staggering one in twenty are spending over 11 hours bent over their books.

Parents are turning to tech to help with homework [Photo: Getty]
Parents are turning to tech to help with homework [Photo: Getty]

Commenting on the findings Dr Nick Smith, Principal at Oxford Home Schooling, said: “The results of the survey are quite surprising, but they will probably resonate with many parents across the country. For some, a large amount of time will have passed since they themselves were in the education system and so they will be unfamiliar with the current curriculum.

“Our research has found that over a third of primary school parents think their children are stressed because of work, so it is important that they strive to help out where they can, using assistants, like Google, if needed.”

The research reveal follows a debate sparked last year by comedian and actor Rob Delaney who took to Twitter to complain about how much homework his 7-year-old was being set.

“Why do they give 7 yr olds so much homework in UK & how do I stop this,” he wrote. “I want my kid frolicking & drawing & playing football. Who knows more about stopping this madness & can help me?[sic]

His comments quickly sparked a social media debate, with parents and other celebrities wading in with their own views.

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