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Only a third of parents feel confident helping their children with homework

Only a third (33%) of parents feel confident helping their child with homework, according to new research1 by Oxford Home Schooling.

The study, carried out by the home education provider, looked into parents’ attitudes towards their children’s homework, and tested their knowledge with some typical Year 3 homework questions, written in collaboration with primary school teacher, Victoria Humphreys.

Of 1,000 parents surveyed, just one in sixteen (6%) managed to answer all three of the homework questions correctly, which were taken from the Key Stage Two syllabuses for English, maths and science.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, nearly a quarter (23%) of parents 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 technology to help them with their children’s homework questions. Over three-quarters (76%) admit to using the internet to help with answers, while interestingly, more than one in ten (11%) seek support from virtual assistants, such as Alexa or Siri.

The research revealed that men are more confident helping their child with homework than women, with nearly two in five (39%) fathers feeling confident and 11% feeling very confident in helping with homework, compared to just 28% of mothers.

The age of parents also appears to have an impact, as, generally, the older they are, the lower their confidence to answer questions. In the three homework questions asked of them, 12% of parents aged 18-24 years old answered every one correctly, which was double that scored by those aged over 35 (6%).

However, it’s not just the difficulty of homework which parents have issue with, but also the frequency. Another study by Oxford Home Schooling2 found that a quarter (25%) 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 (5%) completes over 11 hours.

Dr Nick Smith, Principal at Oxford Home Schooling, commented:

“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.”

To test your own ability to answer primary school homework questions, try Oxford Home Schooling’s homework quiz.

The research is from two independent surveys:

A survey of 1,000 parents of 5-16 year olds in full time education in the UK, conducted by The Leadership Factor in January 2019.

A survey of 1,000 parents of 4-18 year olds in full time education in the UK, conducted by OnePoll from 27 September to 5 October 2017. 


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