My Third Grader's Homework Is Too Hard for Me

third grade homeworkPsst! Come here! C'mon, a little closer. I've got a confession, and I don't need the mommy police hearing. Can you hear me now? OK, well, here's the deal: I hate helping my third grader with her homework.

I know, I know, what kind of mom am I, and blah, blah, blah. But have you looked at a third grader's homework lately? The solution to the Middle East peace crisis seems easier.


I'm not an idiot. At least ... I don't think I am. 

I graduated near the top of my high school class (at age 16, I might add!) and was accepted by one of the nation's top private universities. I was your typical smarty pants know-it-all pain in the tuchas. And third grade math makes me do things I'm not proud of. Like "accidentally" forget that my 8-year-old handed me her worksheets until, "Oh, would you look at the time? I have to go make dinner! Honeeeeeeeeey, your daughter needs you!"

Yes, I drop the third grade homework in my husband's lap. And, come to think of it, I'm not actually as ashamed as I probably should be. Last week, I was completely confused by the value of the number in the thousandths place. There was a 0 there, but the number was 90,000, so there has to be some value, right? Is it 90? Is it 0?

It made my head hurt trying to remember way back to when I was in third grade. I'm a writer. I don't use math every day!

My husband, to his credit, answered her in seconds.

But then ... Monday night he had to call me over to figure out the answer to a problem because, guess what: he doesn't always get it either!

We both thought there were two right answers, and I wrote a note to the teacher to that effect. The kid came home Tuesday with a big "X" and the (one) correct answer circled. Oops.

I should mention my husband is also fairly intelligent. He has a college degree and a pretty responsible job. But he's not smarter than a third grader.

If this story hasn't already made you feel hopeless about the future, get this. The National Center for Family Literacy commissioned a recent survey of parents of kids in grades 1 through 12. They found that 49.1 percent -- almost half -- of all parents have trouble helping their kids with homework. Of that number about 21 percent were just too busy, another 31 percent said their kids didn't want help, and, gulp, 46.5 percent said they didn't "understand" the subject matter.

Check out this infographic they came up with:

 American homework statistics

And we wonder why our kids suddenly reach a stage where they think we're idiots?

News flash: we kind of are.

Do you struggle with your kids' homework?


Images via Jeanne Sager; National Center for Family Literacy

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