Maths is harder than ever for parents says study – and tell us something we don't know 2 years ago

Maths is harder than ever for parents says study – and tell us something we don't know

Maths was never my thing.


In school, I was great at writing (hence the career choice) and languages (which is how I ended up studying for my journalism degree here in Ireland instead of back home in Scandinavia)

And when I left secondary school in Norway aged 19 (which is when you leave secondary school in Norway), I delighted in the fact that never again would I need to do maths- Other than, you know, counting up how much-ish I had spent on the groceries in my trolley and what exactly 20 percent off would mean for that rug I was lusting after from Zara Home.

The world was my maths-free oyster, and I shuddered to even think about things like algebra or long division.

And then I suddenly found myself parenting through a pandemic. With schools closed and two children – and their maths homework – at home. And boy, did my hatred of maths come back to haunt me. Big time.

I have wept and torn my hair out and might have even spiked my oat latte with a drop of Baileys one day – in sheer desperation. And yet to no avail. The silver lining though? Knowing that I am not alone here.

According to a new study, lots of parents struggle with maths homework when trying to help their child.


One reason, the research found, is that math is taught differently now, and they don’t seem to use the same formulas and equations that parents used to when they were growing up.

A recent US survey found out that when it comes to schoolwork, more than half of parents said that they feel “hopeless” when they try and help their child with their math work. The majority of them also admitted to going to the internet to try and help their child with their maths assignment. The survey questioned 2,000 American parents and asked them how they approach their children’s schoolwork, and while 79 percent of parents said that they can recall things they learned in school, 70 percent of them said that they had a hard time solving their child’s math problems.

As part of the research, parents were given some math equations to solve, and only 42 percent were able to solve them correctly.

And so while us adults can simple math in our heads, which we do every day without noticing, the vast majority of the test subjects still used a calculator to double-check their result.

According to Mercury News, this struggle could be because of how math has changed throughout the years. When parents were in school, math was a lot of memorizations of equations and multiplication tables, but now math is moving to common core math. This means that children are expected to show how they “reasoned” their way to the right answer.

And this, apparently, is what makes math homework so difficult for parents to help with. What this means, is that instead of just writing 3 x 5 = 15, now, students today must write out how they get to that answer.

If only there was a support group for parents whose math skills were below (way, way below) the average...