Many parents live in a constant state of conflict, wondering whether to hover over their kids or let them fly on their own. When it comes to ‘helping' with math homework, new research suggests that some parents may be most helpful by not helping at all.
A study conducted at the University of Chicago demonstrated that kids whose parents were anxious about their own mathematical abilities actually picked up on that anxiety over the course of the school year—but only when parents helped them with homework. The students also learned less math during the school year. "Notably, when parents reported helping with math homework less often, children's math achievement and attitudes were not related to parents' math anxiety," said the authors of the study.
The bottom line? Be honest about your own abilities—and attitudes—when it comes to math. If you’re bringing more anxiety than confidence to the homework table, step away from the protractor and bring in a tutor to help out. Do you have math anxiety? Do you worry about passing it on to your kids?