Homework just got harder – for parents

Sep 7, 2014 by

A teaching revolution means mums and dads will need lessons in coding and spelling to help their children

Summer holidays are over and it’s back to school, but the new term is not just for children. This year parents, too, could find themselves back in class learning how to help with homework.

Primary schools across England are planning more after-school lessons for families on new ways of teaching maths and helping with phonics, grammar and spelling as a tougher, more academic curriculum is introduced. It’s not just schools offering to help. O2, the communications company, has linked up with a children’s charity to provide digital workshops in its stores for the new computing and coding lessons.

Teachers say homework is the biggest flashpoint for disagreement between home and school. The new curriculum is likely to mean more work for children and more tantrums before bedtime. One in six parents in a study this year by Bett, the educational technology fair, claimed they often did the homework themselves to save arguments. Now parents – and grandparents – who want to help could find themselves adding to the tears and tension if they were taught differently. Long division? The modern way is by repeated subtractions, or “chunking”. In recent years a wealth of books detailing how best to help with homework – particularly maths – has been published.

More schools such as Launde primary in Oadby, Leicestershire, are putting on maths workshops for parents. Maths is always a challenge because parents use formulas and their children are taught to understand numbers in a more conceptual way, says Inderjit Sandhu, the headteacher. “We don’t have a major issue, because parents do understand what we are doing, but there are occasions when children get traumatised by the conflict. We had one child whose mother came in to say he was really upset about maths and when I spoke to his teachers it turns out he was the best mathematician in the class. The child said he was upset because his mother taught it one way and the teachers another and he was getting into a pickle trying to please everybody,” said Sandhu.

via Homework just got harder – for parents | Education | The Observer.

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