Ottawa Citizen

HELPING WITH HOMEWORK IS CLASS STRUGGLE

- PETER ROBB

Society’s expectatio­ns of the parent try very hard to keep up and I’ll bet passed the math course. Worked like a are sending reputable organizati­ons to most of them do succeed, especially in charm. survey households about how Mom areas where they have expertise. But I did and do still help with some and Pop measure up in the homework the book- learning dispensed in high homework. I just didn’t want expectadep­artment. That’s invasive enough, schools and even elementary schools tions to get too big. And I did and do but making judgments about parental keeps advancing. Some estimates sugget a great deal out of the process, intelligen­ce as a result of a short quesgest that the sum of knowledge availbenef­its that have been as much familtionn­aire, that’s a bit much. able to the human race has more than ial as they have been educationa­l.

So we learn that 62 per cent of pardoubled since the advent of the InterI’m pretty sure my experience ents surveyed for the Canadian Counnet. That’s about 15 years. I graduated would be typical. I know way more y own memories of homework cil on Learning can’t do the New university 34 years ago. Am I keeping about some subjects than others, and are pretty cloudy. Math. Or maybe it’s history, or French, up? I’m still figuring out how to run the ones I know about are the ones in I know I brought it home. I or poetry, or economics, or biology, my iPod. which I have helped my children the know that often I did it by myself. My physics or anything at all. Or maybe For example, mathematic­s. No one most. parents were pretty busy with what we have really learned is that toin his right mind, who wasn’t already So I have helped with essays for hisyounger siblings, so I was left to my day’s parents live troubled existences an engineer or a mathematic­ian, tory and English classes and built own devices. And I think that was plagued by guilt and feelings of inadewould want to spend the hours it small projects along the way. I have repretty typical for students of my vinquacy. would take to properly learn arithdisco­vered why I like the study of histage. Council president Paul Cappon, in a metic that way it is taught today. It’s tory so much. That has been renew-

Parental obligation­s, as defined by story published in this newspaper, pretty well incomprehe­nsible, and my ing, but the real knowledge I have the experts, have certainly changed in called this frank admission about learning it is an unreasonab­le expectagai­ned is that my children have ideas the intervenin­g years. parental struggles with homework tion. of their own that are worth listening Nowadays, to. it seems, parents need to “ troubling,” pointing “ to a knowledge I won’t do it. Stamped it. Well, actube moms, dads and pedagogues who gap that has emerged over time.” ally I didn’t do it ( my children have Working on homework with a 17suppleme­nt the best efforts of the The researcher­s should ask who let graduated high school and are enyear- old is gentle way of realizing that teaching community as little Jimmy the dogs out that chewed my kids’ rolled in non- math programs) and my the happy little girl you once pushed slogs through two or three hours of homework so badly I couldn’t really feelings of inadequacy have passed around on a small swing has become a homework a night. After all, the scion understand what was written there. but the guilt remains. Rather than try thinking young adult, just about ready of the family needs to get through high Nothing much left for the poor parent to learn math, after working eight to 10 to make her way in the world. school and win that place at a good from this survey except a massive feelhours a day, my wife and I chose to university, securing a place in a proing of inadequacy. live life by hiring a tutor who was a fession. Nothing less will do. Parents know what they know. Most smart teenager who had actually

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