Daily Mail

# Puzzled by Pythagoras? Your French a farce? School topics that trip up parents

- Daily Mail Reporter

IT’S the moment all parents dread – your child asks for help with their homework and you haven’t got a clue what the question means, let alone what the answer is.

Half of British mums and dads admit they would fail their secondary school exams if they had to take them again, a survey has found.

Long division, the elements of the periodic table and even the dates of the two world wars are among the things parents have forgotten from their school days.

Some 44 per cent say they have no idea when it comes to helping with secondary school homework, while a third (34 per cent) can’t help their primary school-aged children.

Trigonomet­ry ( 52 per cent), Pythagoras theorem (46 per cent), algebra (46 per cent), calculatin­g Pi (39 per cent) and the periodic table (35 per cent) all leave parents scratching their heads.

Some 15 per cent have forgotten most of the flags of the world and 21

per cent admit they no longer know the difference between a noun, a verb and an adjective.

One in three have no idea how to convert fractions, while a similar number dread long division cropping up. The difference between types of triangles (26 per cent) and the dates of the two world wars (19 per cent) also leave mums and dads flummoxed.

On average, parents spend four hours a week trying to help their children do their homework, with 73 per cent ending up arguing over it.

Almost nine in ten (87 per cent) say homework has become much more challengin­g than when they were at school, with 77 per cent believing their children work much harder than they did at the same age.

Maths (57 per cent) is the subject that British parents struggle with the most, according to the study, commission­ed by leading online tuition business MyTutor.

Two thirds (66 per cent) get embarrasse­d when they are not able to do their children’s homework and 16 per cent say they quarrel with their children because the youngsters are cleverer than them.

One in five (19 per cent) of the 2,000 parents surveyed have contacted their child’s school to ask for additional help and a quarter (27 per cent) have considered getting a tutor to help. MyTutor’s Florence Milner said: ‘Even though most parents devote a significan­t amount of time weekly to helping their children with schoolwork, it’s unsurprisi­ng that many find the task daunting. Few would claim to be expert in every subject, many will have left formal education years before and the vast majority, according to our survey, acknowledg­e that the curriculum is much more challengin­g now than when they were in school.’