Five Fast Homework Tips for Everyone

Like it or not, homework isn’t just for students and teachers. Recently NCFL asked parents the question many may be embarrassed to answer – are you ever unable to help your kids with their homework?

Our survey revealed that nearly 50 percent of parents (49.1 percent)* admit they struggle providing homework help, and nearly half (46.5 percent)** feel unable to lend a helping hand because they don’t understand the subject matter.

Why are so many parents having a tough time helping their kids with schoolwork? A deeper look paints a compelling picture of the many challenges involved in raising a family today, including:

  • Nearly one in three of those parents who have trouble has difficulty connecting with their child, with 31.6 percent agreeing “my child doesn’t want my help”
  • More than one in five parents who felt unable to help is too overwhelmed juggling everyday demands to devote the time required, with 21.9 percent agreeing, “I’m too busy”

The survey struck a chord with people across the nation, even catching the attention of Education Week and USA Today. It can be alienating and scary to any parent when they feel powerless to give their children what they need. But there is good news: NCFL strives to give families of all backgrounds and means the tools to take control of their own learning together.

Here are five surprisingly simple tips to help parents build the confidence and skills they need to make a real difference in their kids’ education:

  • Get online: seek out resources, for yourself and for the kids, like Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity or  Both are packed with content that aligns to Common Core State Standards and STEM topics currently taught in schools across the country
  • Make learning fun: encourage your kids to dig deeper into whatever interests them, whether that’s a pet turtle, dancing or outer space, rather than relying on being told what to read
  • Feed curiosity: spend just a few minutes over dinner sparking questions with a simple thought starter, like “What would you pack for a trip to outer space?” or “Do you daydream?
  • Wonder on the go: spend downtime during a commute or waiting in line exploring fun, educational apps you can try out together
  • Talk to teachers: don’t be afraid to ask how to reinforce classroom learning at home – that’s not being a helicopter parent, that’s being helpful!

Which homework subjects have been trickiest for you? Do you have any methods to tackling your own homework obstacles? Educators and practitioners, what are some tips you give the parents you serve? Let us know in the comments!


Survey Methodology

*This survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, August 22, 2013, to August 25, 2013, and based on 137 online responses. Sample: National adult Internet population.

**This survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, August 26, 2013, to August 30, 2013, and based on 154 online responses. Sample: National adult Internet population.

For complete methodology, including weighting details, please contact Sara Crumley at

For more information on Google Consumer Surveys and their statistical validity, please see