My Third Grader's Homework Is Too Hard for Me

Mom Moment 35

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

elementary school, homework


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miche... micheledo

Well, if nothing else, I kind of understand why people think you should have a degree if you are homeschooling.  It's because they can't help with their child's homework!!  :D

I read an article last week about a high school principal that took the test his students are required to take and he failed.  The article listed his numerous degrees.  I took a sample test and was surprised at how 'easy' it was.  Easy being based on the fact that a highly educated person was going on and on about how hard it was and how he failed. . . . 

Needless to say, I am feeling a LOT better about our choice to homeschool!!  Ha ha.

nonmember avatar NoWay

Haha. I can relate to this, except it's with my seventh grader. I've been helping him by correcting his math homework and I have to admit that some of it has me puzzled! I admitted openly that math is not my strong subject (English is) and if it gets much harder he will need to ask his stepdad for help. :)

nonmember avatar Kim tee

I have the same problem with my 4th graders English homework. Underline predicates and whats the main n simple subject etc...he has looked at me and said if you dont know it why do i need to? Good question kid. Maybe it is useless info. I speak, read and write english and do it well without remembering wth a predicate is.

worki... workingmama86

I do my best with my kids when they need help with homework. I just google what I don't know. lol

D.j. Lord

really?  really?

lulou lulou

We had to get used to the new methods they want the kids to use when they show their work. But now Im actually a fan of Everyday Math, while I know some parents who are crazed fans of Singapore math.

amazz... amazzonia

You spent your life in school and you're not able to do a 3rd grader homework... Wow school is REALLY important in life.... 

Lilyp... Lilypad523

Singapore Math is new to my school district. It's been a headache to parents and teachers alike, but test scores have gone up so we're gonna run with it. Sometimes I find myself teaching a lesson going, "Really? I have to teach this?"

nonmember avatar april

I could help my kid get the right answer in math only to find out that I did it the "wrong" way. We had the right answer, but we didn't find the right answer the way the teacher wanted her to. which I thought was completely absurd. Math is not my strong suit, and now that she is in 7th grade advanced classes doing 10th grade algebra...sorry kiddo!

Todd Vrancic

My wife helped the kids with English, Spelling and so on, I helped the kids with math and science and such.

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