Forty-three percent of 778 parents who were recently surveyed by Ask.com admitted to doing their child’s homework for them. Thiry-eight percent of the homework done by parents is math. No one told me there would be math in parenting. I didn’t sign up for this.
My step daughter had some problems with her multiplication tables when she was in the fifth grade. She was doing the “I’m going to count every set of numbers” technique that so many kids do before they come to the realization that multiplication is all about memorizing those stupid tables. Once I was able to explain to her that it wasn’t that she wasn’t understanding it – it was just that she hadn’t memorized them yet, everything got easier for her. Then she came home with algebra homework. All I could say was, “You need to pay attention in class and ask questions.”
I don’t remember how the hell to do algebra. More importantly, I have no intention of learning it again. So what is going to happen when my kids come home and expect me to do their homework for them? They are going to be shit out of luck – and I think that’s a good thing.
I imagine it’s even harder for kids today to focus on homework, with the constant distraction of electronic devices and the sheer amount that they are being assigned. But as parents, I think it’s really important to step back and let our kids struggle a little; to learn to work on patience and focus. I bet in the majority of the cases of parents actually doing their kid’s homework for them, we are dealing with a lot of control freaks who can’t handle the idea of their kids getting something wrong. Letting kids struggle and fail is a big part of parenting and I think that applies to homework, too.
The fact that I would fail even more miserably at my child’s math homework than they would is probably going to work in both of our favors in the future. That’s what I keep reassuring myself, anyway.
Like I said, no one told me there would be math.
(photo: Getty Images)