J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

A Most unScientific Study: Math Homework Woes

An informal survey of nine parents of Algebra, Geometry, or Algebra 2 parents revealed data which we found very distressing.

  • 8 of the 9 parents said they feel they cannot help their child with their homework
  • 0 of the 9 parents said they looked through their child’s math notebooks at least once a week

This troubles us to no end.

If your child is in an Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 class, then they should have both a textbook and a set of class notes designed to illustrate how to solve homewok problems. Not to mention that the topics students learn in each of the three courses are progressive and build upon previously learned material, so any child who needs help on Day Q, should have an understanding of days A – P and those resources to help parents understand well enough to make a reasonable attempt at helping with homework. If this is not true, then the issue was allowed to fester too long.

We will run our unScientific study of parent conference comments in the coming weeks, but we will tease that “I can’t help my child with their homework anymore” and “I was never good in [Subject]” topped the list for high school instructors.

We are not suggesting that every adult needs to be at the top of their game in high school mathematics for the rest of their lives; however, they should certainly be able to read the child’s notes and skim the textbook and get the gist of it. Alas, none of the parents we surveyed regularly looked through their child’s math notebooks. As one staffer at J2 Content puts it “A notebook should read like a textbook. Teachers create lesson narratives that students are to either copy verbatim or take notes from. They are creating a resource. If a student cannot open to any page in their notebooks and explain to anyone [especially their parents] what is being illustrated there and describe the concept, then the child is not being an active participant in their education and that issue should be addressed immediately by the parent and teacher.”

What were your experiences with parents helping or being unable to help children with high school mathematics? Please share your thoughts below.

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