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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the pinkie-swear dept.

Education 278

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Dana Goldstein writes in The Atlantic that while one of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children's education — meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, and helping with homework — few parents stop to ask whether they're worth the effort. Case in point: In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement researchers combed through nearly three decades' worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids' academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire — regardless of a parent's race, class, or level of education. Once kids enter middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down, an effect Robinson says could be caused by the fact that many parents may have forgotten, or never truly understood, the material their children learn in school. 'As kids get older—we're talking about K-12 education — parents' abilities to help with homework are declining,' says Keith Robinson. 'Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework.'" (More, below.)Hugh Pickens continues: "The study did find a handful of parental behaviors that made a difference in their children's education such as reading aloud to young kids (PDF) (fewer than half of whom are read to daily) and talking with teenagers about college plans. 'The most consistent, positive parental involvement activity is talking to your kids about their post-high school plans, and this one stood out because it was, pretty much for every racial, ethnic and socio-economic group, positively related to a number of academic outcomes—such as attendance and marks,' concludes Robinson. 'What this might be hinting at is the psychological component that comes from kids internalizing your message: school is important. '"

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Um, right. (4, Funny)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 7 months ago | (#46552111)

'Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework.'" You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?

Re:Um, right. (5, Insightful)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 7 months ago | (#46552121)

To be honest my mom never understood some of the things she helped me with. What she did was read the textbook, see what I was having issue with, have me explain to her what I was trying to accomplish and how, and if she still didn't have an insight, she would tell me to ask somebody else. She knew her limitations (perhaps because her education is high school, and a bad one).

Always remember: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552137)

> Dana Goldstein
Always do the opposite of what jews say

Re:Always remember: (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46552237)

I'm a Jew. I implore you to do exactly the opposite of what I tell you to do, in the strongest terms possible!

(That should keep him occupied for a while...)

Re:Always remember: (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 7 months ago | (#46552359)

Way to take the high road. You could just as easily have said, "Keep on living," or "Breathe."

Re:Always remember: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552379)

Get back in ze ofen

Re:Always remember: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552977)

LOL Well played.

"As kids get older—we're talking about K-12 education — parents' abilities to help with homework are declining"

This just seems like a nice way of calling old people stupid and if that's the case, well no arguments here. I might not be as sharp, but by god I make up for it with life lessons which take hours to explain while I pack my pipe kicking it in my rocker.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 7 months ago | (#46552165)

Double posting because can't edit: what I meant with that was that it all matters on whether or not your parent knows their shortcomings or not, and whether or not they realize they have forgotten high school already.

Re:Um, right. (3, Informative)

mindwhip (894744) | about 7 months ago | (#46552737)

Mine didn't really understand the problems but always got me to explain what I was trying to do, why and how. The act of me explaining taught me to think through things and ultimately solve them myself, one big lesson that works for a lot more than maths.

Re:Um, right. (5, Insightful)

Tamran (1424955) | about 7 months ago | (#46552211)

You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?

This is exactly on point! Sure, having discussions and making students think deeper may affect their quiz/exam scores. However, there are countless examples of how these exams are no more than simulations of real life and how being able to respond to new situations creatively is the true measure of intelligence (sorry, I'm too lazy to bring any references but surely a Google search will reveal countless cases).

I now teach university undergraduate engineering classes after working in the industry for many years. What I now realize is that the people typically in this role have never worked as an Engineer and have NO CONTEXT to what they're actually teaching. With no context, how can these people be fair at assessment? In reality, either the product ships or it doesn't. But exams often become about solving some tricky problem that is from an 1800's analytical paper. Not to say these case studies aren't relevant, but the point is the objectives of education SHOULD BE some skill set as opposed to scoring high on some exam.

All that said, I believe the criteria used to make the conclusions in the summary are way off base and also lack context. Parents, don't stop debating with your children about what they're learning. People should balance questioning everything they are told with heuristics and best practices in order to "get things done." Test scores be damned if we can't even assemble lawn furniture at the end of the day.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552269)

As a current undergrad engineering student with a lot of prior work experience, thank you. I agree. It makes me sad that the honors students are often the last people I would choose to work with me on a real-world project.

Re:Um, right. (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46552393)

All of my Engineering profs had extensive industry experience. My understanding at the time was that Engineering schools had a long tradition of not employing professors without at least 5 years in industry. Granting that was decades ago. I have a hard time believing things have changed that quickly.

Re:Um, right. (5, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46552833)

Mostly this, but a bit more since you are missing something I feel is a much larger issue. Common core is the latest example of people not learning concepts so that they can understand the world, but making students memorize and "come close" to answers that someone feeds them.

Case and point. My son in Elementary school was forced to memorize multiplication tables because it was required (in a bit more than a decade that may have changed, but it was required from the 1950s). The kids were not taught the fundamental concept of what multiplication is, or how it worked. I sat him down and showed him the concept and told him to not use "times" or "multiply" when doing his homework. Instead, I told him to use "groups of" which made perfect sense to a 7 year old. He never had to memorize the table and aced math, but not because government mandated materials and methods worked, but because I taught him what the concepts the school didn't.

Those types of lessons occurred constantly. Many teachers know the forced methods are broken and fight against it. Teachers often ignore the forced work and methods and their kids get smarter, though in certain areas of the required tests scores can drop.

It's not simply a matter of having people with real world knowledge teaching. There is very much an issue of the curriculum and required methods being wrong.

TFA makes me very concerned, because talking to friends I'm not the only one that has taught my kid concepts that schools do not. This seems to be very common, and sending a message out to people to stop teaching their kids is questionable at best. I have a feeling that the statistics were not so much related to parents helping with homework as much as parents doing the homework for the kid (which we know happens) and of course those types of questions would easily skew results.

Re:Um, right. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 7 months ago | (#46552245)

Or the new "Common Core" crap that has the most ass backwards ways of doing simple things like math. http://static.infowars.com/bin... [infowars.com] I have seen people with MS and PHd in math shake their heads over this stuff.

Re:Um, right. (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 7 months ago | (#46552317)

I don't know if that is Common Core's fault. Idiots implement the standards and think they make it easier for kids.The high standards are good, the poor implimentation in many districts is not.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#46552321)

What the hell is that? did M.C. Esher write that textbook?

Re:Um, right. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 7 months ago | (#46552369)

=did M.C. Esher write that textbook?

Now that's the kind of textbook I would vigorously advocate for.

Re:Um, right. (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | about 7 months ago | (#46552453)

But either you'd never be able to open the book, or you'd never be able to close it!

Re:Um, right. (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46552325)

I would rather have kids understand the quick method you illustrated, instead of considering every problem a rote algorithm.

I would need to see some context to make sure they are not teaching the algorithmic method later in order to be outraged.

What you showed is how I do math. Sales tax is two multiplications. Tips are two, even at a flat 20%. This gets me a number quickly, but was never explicitly taught.

You need to understand the multi year curriculum to have context.

Re:Um, right. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 7 months ago | (#46552341)

Or the new "Common Core" crap that has the most ass backwards ways of doing simple things like math. http://static.infowars.com/bin... [infowars.com] I have seen people with MS and PHd in math shake their heads over this stuff.

The answer is (c). Maybe the people shaking their heads over this stuff have finally succumbed to the brain rot caused by listening to Alex Jones all the time.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552373)

Doesn't look any better (or worse) than the stuff we have now. Just more garbage that requires zero true understanding of the material.

Re:Um, right. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 7 months ago | (#46552479)

I only picked the info-wars link because it was the first thing that came up in google images with a static path. Pick one you like more... https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:Um, right. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#46552503)

My thoughts exactly. The picture itself has no context, and the article [infowars.com] is the usual InfoWars style with lots of supposedly-self-evident cherry-picked anecdotes and no logic*. I'm going to assume that the problem in the picture is actually demonstrating an aspect of the transitive property. The intended solution is the realization that "15 - 5 - 2 = 15 - 7", or to state it as an abstract concept, "numbers represent quantities that may be separated and redistributed". Of course, parents whose education was all rote memorization don't understand the questions, so they're unable to help effectively, and in some cases can undermine the lesson entirely be asserting that the textbook is obviously wrong.

* I'm curious; is there an actual name for this style of presentation? I've seen it often in conspiracy theories, where a series of images, statements, and facts are presented without context to outrage the audience, then the author's theory is presented as the only context where everything makes sense, rather than allowing for each item's individual context to be understood first. It's common enough that I feel there must be some literary term for it, but I don't recall any.

Re:Um, right. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 7 months ago | (#46552401)

The answer is C, you can break 7 up into 5 and 2
So in your head you can subtract 5 from 15 quickly to get 10, then subtract another 2 to get 8.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552475)

But it's wrong.
15-5 is not equivalent to 15-7
Maybe if they had written it as
15 - 5 - 2 and then 10 - 2

What they wrote there contradicts with everything you learn when you start solving equations.
I can't wait for kids to start writing things like:
15x - 7x 15x - 5x 10x - 2x 8x
Sure the result is correct, but the steps are completely wrong.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552721)

The answer uses two equations: 15-5=10 and 10-2=8. Both are correct.

Re:Um, right. (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 7 months ago | (#46552747)

It's teaching a shortcut for doing arithmetic -- one that's easy to do in your head, in fact. The idea is to do the subtraction in pieces by getting to round numbers. So in the example, 15 - 7, you start by getting to 10 (15 - 5 = 10), then you have 2 more left from 7 so you subtract that too (10 - 2 = 8).

The end result gives you 15 - 5 - 2, but to write it that way you have to already know how to break up the 7. Doing it one equation at a time lets you apply the method to larger numbers.

Re:Um, right. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46553015)

The answer is 15 - 5 - 2. The "answer" on the paper shows 15 - 5 = 10 and 10 - 2 = 7, so it shows the intermediate step. 15 - 7 = (15 - 5) - 2 = 10 - 2 = 8 may be "more correct" but the answer given in the test is easier.

The steps are right, they just show a step that someone using that method would hold in their head, not write out as an independent mathematical equation. Though that's done in the test to illustrate the method.

Re:Um, right. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 7 months ago | (#46552507)

The answer is C, you can break 7 up into 5 and 2 So in your head you can subtract 5 from 15 quickly to get 10, then subtract another 2 to get 8.

But if you just subtract 7 from 15 and get 8, you are wrong.

http://www.corestandards.org/M... [corestandards.org]
"Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13)."

This is some serious confusion right here.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552727)

The answer is C, you can break 7 up into 5 and 2
So in your head you can subtract 5 from 15 quickly to get 10, then subtract another 2 to get 8.

But if you just subtract 7 from 15 and get 8, you are wrong.

http://www.corestandards.org/M... [corestandards.org]

"Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13)."

This is some serious confusion right here.

This stuff sounds like me when I try to explain things. The original problem took longer than it should for me to solve, as I didn't understand the format as I've never seen it before. Intuition won out, but it is too confusing for the level of material. It is good that they want students to think about problems in different manner, by breaking them down, but they will not understand it unless they discover it themselves. Material can be given that would support that, but none of this stuff seems to aim at getting to that, "Ah ha!" moment when the material becomes a simple task.

What I'm trying to complain about, is that the math shown still has an emphasis on the answers and not how to solve problems, so the focus is wrong. A student would look at the problem and see that there are more numbers, so the problem got more complicated. They would ask, "Why would you do this instead of using less numbers and operators if the answer is the same?" To fix that problem, they should give the answer of 8 in the description so the solution isn't the point of the problem and ask for an alternative solution using some arbitrary multiple of 2, 5, or 10 (easy to count numbers) in a fill in the blank manner instead of multiple choice.

Re:Um, right. (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 7 months ago | (#46552735)

Interestingly I was never taught to do addition/subtraction like that but have always done it that way. It helps me to quickly get to something close when estimating and also get more precise by thinking a little more through the steps.

It's all about limiting the number of steps you have to memorize and being able to break a problem up into a few easier smaller problems.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 7 months ago | (#46552941)

This is some serious confusion right here.

No, not if you understand arithmetic. In fact making students comfortable with these sorts of manipulations seems to me to lay a good groundwork for algebra. I admit that "making ten" and "number sentences" are weird terminology, and I've seen some baffling examples of CC math, but the paragraph you've provided seems like a sensible strategy for teaching basic arithmetic to kids.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | about 7 months ago | (#46552519)

The Common Core standards in themselves are a vast improvement from the patchwork of state standards that ranged from bad to very bad. The Common Core standards do a decent job focusing the standards on fewer topics allowing for deeper more rigorous learning of the important topics and a focus on understanding, not just procedure. Previous standards tended to focus on facts, recall, and mindless procedural learning, rather than moving higher up the hierarchy of learning to where students can be creative and actually use what they learn. The quality of implementation of the Common Core standards will of course vary as they move into texts and standardized tests and are used by teachers.

Now to your specific example, that's a decent problem that requires thinking to solve. If Math MS and PhD's are having a hard time with it, then they are either so focused on their limited area that they can't do anything else or they are so used to being spoon fed procedural thinking by a professor that they don't know how to think for themselves. The problem you linked to was also cherry picked out without any context or explanation of the task that likely would have been in a good classroom. Without any context or explanation though, the task does require a higher level of thinking to parse what is being asked. Higher level cognitive demand is another way to say it.

The Common Core does not only call for open ended problems like that, and does also call for procedural fluency. Think drilling. The trick is in the balancing of procedure with problem solving abilities and stretching problem solving abilities requires giving tasks with higher level cognitive demand.

There's always going to be people like you that try to drag out the negative in any improvement effort without understanding the background behind it.

I'll have to go read the linked study to see what it's all about.

Re:Um, right. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46552607)

Base-10 shortcut problem subdivision. It's a trick to speed up mental arithmatic. Not a difficult one. It's questionable how useful mental arithmatic is now when everyone carries a calculator, but as the section is titled 'number sense' I imagine this is probably there to give the younger students something of an intuitive grasp of numbers.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552689)

The answer is (c). First of all, (c) is only one that arrives at the right result. And once you know what which result is correct, then it is pretty easy to figure out what the question was about. Kids are taught to calculate the difference by repeatedly removing the same number from both numbers in play. E.g., 15-7 = 14-6 = 13 - 5= etc. They are forced to use their brains and understand numbers to get result.

The way it is formalized is weird (subtraction sentence), but there is nothing difficult about it.

I have hard time to see what is wrong about it. It will serve them well once exercises move to big numbers which can not be memorized. This can lead to kids being able to subtract big numbers from head, without using calculator or pen and paper.

Re:Um, right. (1)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#46552925)

Wow... That strikes me as a great math problem! It requires the student to recognize the fact that the customer has accidentally overpaid with an unnecessary $5 bill on their $8 tab. So naturally, the right answer consists of handing them back their $5, then making the correct change of $2 from a $10.

Imagine that! And here I had thought this new "common core" would leave our snowflakes even less prepared for the exciting world of retail sales and customer service than before... But, I clearly stand corrected!

Re:Um, right. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46552967)

That's an easy way of finding the answer. It's essentially a base-5 version of math. The problem is that it might help some of the lower-end of average students to learn, but won't help the lowest learn, and will be an impediment for the upper students (but they'll figure it out on their own). So something like this is the natural result of NCLB where the 15th to 50th percentiles get 80% of the focus, and the top 50% get no attention, unless they drop, and the bottom 15% are exempted from the rules (special needs).

Go NCLB. It's like help, without the help.

Re:Um, right. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 7 months ago | (#46552315)

You mean like correcting the blatant errors in the grade school science texts?

I sure would like to hear an example of what kind of "blatant error" you're talking about. For every parent that points out that centrifugal force is just as real as any other force, there will be ten who deny evolution or climate change.

Perhaps this is the main effect driving the study: the majority of parents in America are half-educated nitwits, and any involvement from them will only cause damage to their child's education.

Re: Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552327)

Agreed. I had one teacher tell my daughter that since Hitler killed Jews and his mom was Jewish he killed her.

Re: Um, right. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#46552553)

The teacher in question could be in his early 70s. That's not unheard of, if he's in good health. That would mean he was an infant in the 1940's, and his mother could have left him in the care of sympathetic friends before the Nazis took her away. I'm told it was fairly common for Jews in Europe to make such arrangements as the Nazi threat moved closer.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552343)

It comes down to "what is more important, grades or education?" because it's likely your children are being tested to the blatant errors in the grade school texts. I remember when I learned I had to hold my nose and give the wrong answer to get 100% on a test.

Re:Um, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552349)

It is not just science texts. Even basic math has become insane. For example has anyone successfully managed to explain to a elementary school kid what is the point of learning three different ways to add two numbers?

Re:Um, right. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 7 months ago | (#46552395)

For example has anyone successfully managed to explain to a elementary school kid what is the point of learning three different ways to add two numbers?

Perhaps ... because learning three different ways to add two numbers aids comprehension of the mathematical concept of addition?

Nah. It must be a UN conspiracy or something.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552733)

They should start with set theory. Then define the non-negative integers as the cardinals of sets for which there does not exist a bijection into one of its proper subset. Then, they'd understand the consept of addition!

Re:Um, right. (1)

houghi (78078) | about 7 months ago | (#46552481)

I agree. 6000 years old? That can't be right. They have been saying that for many years now. It should be 6025 or something like that.

Re:Um, right. (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 7 months ago | (#46552685)

I still can't believe they are teaching that Pluto is not a planet! WTF? And don't even get me started about brontosaurus...

Or maybe.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552147)

Parents help with homework, kids never learn how to solve problems by theirself.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | about 7 months ago | (#46552243)

Homework -- self practice -- is where you actually learn the material. When parents do their kids' homework, the kids lose the opportunity to learn the material for themselves.

This isn't to say that students don't need help. Rather, they need help thinking through the material instead of the "help" of being told the solution.

Re:Exactly (2)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 7 months ago | (#46552385)

Homework -- self practice -- is where you actually learn the material.

I never bothered to do any homework, yet was far beyond any of the other students, who didn't understand why anything worked. That's because all the busywork assignments just had you doing the same thing over and over; they were just rote exercises, and didn't have anything to do with understanding.

That is not true learning.

Re:Or maybe.. (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 7 months ago | (#46552301)

Yep, most of the time "help" means that the parents do the stuff instead of the kids.

Bullshit (1)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 7 months ago | (#46552151)

I did fine growing up, but me working with my younger brother on concepts helped him more at school and was a top-off on education more than anything. I'm sure my parents would have helped, but they were working. Showing kids how to get from A to B is a lot better than showing them the answers or doing it for them.

Kids stop listening at 12. (5, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46552155)

You had better get any information you want into your kids head before puberty.

After puberty, they lose the ability to listen to parents.

Re:Kids stop listening at 12. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 7 months ago | (#46552209)

They can regain it. It just takes some beatings, burning coals and waterboarding.

Re:Kids stop listening at 12. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552275)

You had better get any information you want into your kids head before puberty.

After puberty, they lose the ability to listen to parents.

Awesome! So does that mean we can kick them out once they hit puberty too? I mean hell, according to them at that age, they know it all anyway...might as well make them responsible for all that wisdom they've acquired at the ripe age of 14 and make them prove it.

Re:Kids stop listening at 12. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46552421)

No. A parent's job becomes riding/supervising/micromanaging the little shits until they are legally allowed to kick them to the curb (18th birthday).

Please inform the teachers of this development... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552157)

I don't help my kid with any of his homework other than checking that it is done correctly. If he doesn't get it done properly in time then his grades suffer. How are we going to teach kids how to work and learn if they don't actually have to use their brain?

And don't even get me started on busy work. What the hell does coloring a picture of a clock teach a second grader exactly?

capcha:suspends

Re:Please inform the teachers of this development. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#46552381)

What the hell does coloring a picture of a clock teach a second grader exactly?

The layout and parts of a clock face, and familiarity with the object. It's the first phase in learning any technology: understanding that it is not magic. The clock isn't a magical disk that telepathically communicates time to adults' heads, or just a moving wall decoration that's been there since before the kid was born. It is a mechanism for a purpose, and a thing of importance to be studied.

Consider similar exercises for other subjects. The first exercise in many programming languages is "Hello, World!", for the purpose of showing a minimal program that doesn't use any special features of the language.

Once exposed to a concept, the additional time spent coloring or reviewing strengthens the connections to related concepts. When coloring the minute hand, the student remembers that each number the minute hand passes represents five minutes. The Hollywood [tvtropes.org] idea of rapid learning doesn't work too well in reality. Repetition and reinforcement are the keys to learning something and retaining it beyond the end of the school year.

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552167)

Parental involvement is the single factor for kids doing well at school, and getting them into higher level education. Studies have been showing this decade after decade, all across the world.

Re: bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552207)

provide Citations, Or Shut The Fuck up

Re:bullshit (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 months ago | (#46552249)

Maybe before we had three generations of stupid parents taught by stupid teachers...

Re:bullshit (1)

lonOtter (3587393) | about 7 months ago | (#46552415)

Never?

Could it be.... (4, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 7 months ago | (#46552195)

That the kids who did well without help didn't *need* help because they were smart self-starters? Yeah, maybe that's it.

Re:Could it be.... (1)

geek (5680) | about 7 months ago | (#46552961)

More likely they had smaller class sizes and teachers competent enough to explain it thoroughly before sending them home with it. Seriously, how does a kid even get to ask a question when classes sizes are 40+ students per room these days?

My biggest problem with math as a kid was I never had a math teacher that spoke fluent English. I couldn't understand them. And when I had questions, and was lucky enough to actually get called on to ask it, I rarely understood wtf they were saying.

ChipWhisperer: An Open-Source Platform for Hardwar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552197)

ChipWhisperer: An Open-Source Platform for Hardware Embedded Security Research

- Document (PDF): http://cryptome.org/2014/03/ch... [cryptome.org]
- View PDF online: http://view.samurajdata.se/ [samurajdata.se]

Partial quote from 1st page (1/18):

"This paper introduces a complete side channel analysis toolbox inclusive of the analog capture hardware, target device, capture software, and analysis software. The highly modular design allows use of the hardware and software with a variety of existing systems. The hardware uses a synchronous capture method which greatly reduces the required sample rate, while also reducing the data storage requirement and improving synchronization of traces. The synchronous nature of the hardware lends itself to fault injection, and a module to generate glitches of programmable width is also provided. The entire design (hardware and software) is open-source, and maintained in a publicly available repository. Several long example capture traces are provided for researchers looking to evaluate standard cryptographic implementations."

Keywords: side-channel analysis, acquisition, synchronization, FPGA

Common Sense (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#46552219)

If your kid is stuck on something, help him out.

If you don't know how to help him out, then admit that. In any subject where the results are objective you can look at the practice section if you have any doubts about your ability to be helpful. If you're both stuck help him formulate the question(s) to ask the teacher, if he's having trouble doing that on his own.

Don't do your kids' homework for them.

Next article.

What a Load (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46552223)

Homework should be abolished.

Parents should spend as much time with their kids as they can.

Studies by and large are full of shit.

That is all.

Intensive study programs already know this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552227)

My niece and nephew have in the past attended an expensive and highly effective study program offered by a private company. It has helped them immensely. One of the primary ironclad rules of the program is that parents are not allowed to help their children with the program's homework. They are so serious about this that after each session they send home an affidavit stating that the parents did in no way help with the homework, and the parents must sign it.

Re:Intensive study programs already know this (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 7 months ago | (#46553013)

If kids are in an intensive study program, then the intensive study program can afford to give the kids one-on-one attention and help them learn. If not, then in many cases parents are the only ones who can afford to give the kids one-on-one attention and help them learn.

What the teacher said (1)

fyoder (857358) | about 7 months ago | (#46552255)

There is also a subjective element to a lot of courses. A parent might think they know the answer to a question, but if you weren't in that teacher's class, know their take, their biases, even how they like things formatted, you could do more harm than good. The correct answer on a test is what the marker thinks the correct answer is, not what you think, not some absolute (except in hard sciences and math perhaps, but even there tread carefully).

Re:What the teacher said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552569)

Ahh yes, prepreation for your working life indeed.

Correlations != Causation. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 7 months ago | (#46552257)

Is it possible that the one swho needed help were more likely to seek their parents help, then ones already aceing the tests?

Couldn't help my kid with Geometry (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 7 months ago | (#46552271)

not because the material's hard, but because it builds and builds and builds. If you're not taking the course along with your kid you're not gonna pull it off.

What I hate seeing is these schools giving 4+ hours of homework a night. It's damn near impossible to do all that. The US economy is crashing due to outsourcing and blind faith in Free Trade, and everyone's trying to figure out what to do that doesn't involve stuff that's politically impossible (like Tariffs and an end to Work Visas for people w/o a PHD and a large body of work). So far the solution seems to be to overwhelm children with tests and homework...

Alternative Theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552283)

"Once kids enter middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down, an effect Robinson says could be caused by the fact that many parents may have forgotten, or never truly understood, the material their children learn in school."

It may also be that all that help robs kids of opportunity to solve problems by themselves. If the parent helps too much, kid is passive recipient and not the one who actually solved exercises or had done needed thinking. In short term, homework done without parent has lower quality and takes more time to complete. The kid can even intentionally botch it. Maybe there is payoff in long term, where the kid becomes more capable of independent work. After all, neither mom nor dad nor teacher are available during tests.

its not the grade that matters particularly (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 7 months ago | (#46552295)

I guess it depends on the parent but homework seems to something that involves parents with their kids lives you know where they talk to them.

I think that beats sitting in front of the TV and just providing meals and a change of clothes. It also involves the parents with the kids progression through school. Teachers don't really have enough time in a lesson to make sure the kids are actually learning what they are supposed to be learning.

It seems to get worse as the kids get older, teachers tend to become baby sitters rather than educators. Its great when you find a teacher who manages to raise an interest in their subject for a kid but we all pretty much know which teachers educated us and which were in the same room for a year or two.

I really don't get on with these studies that try to say homework is worthless it isn't and just gives parents an excuse not to spend time with their kids.

Confused Parents (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 7 months ago | (#46552299)

It is probably more likely, that while the parents can help the kid understand the material, they have a slightly different method and syntax to doing so than the teacher. And in my experience teachers ask for students to use their exact method and syntax or fail them. Tests are most often used to test method, not actual results. I have had teachers who would give you 80-100% just for using the method they wanted you to use, even if you get the wrong result; And similarly maybe give you 20% if you got the right result but not in the exact same steps and methods and formulas that they used in class.

Re:Confused Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552451)

Those are the same teachers that teach completely retarded shit like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOIL_method

Re: Confused Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552583)

Yeah -- foil is a pretty fundamental theorem in math. You must not need algebra much in your day to day life.

Re: Confused Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552625)

Or long multiplication. (51)(35)=(50+1)(30+5)=1500+250+30+5

Re: Confused Parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46553001)

No. The distributive rule is fundamental. FOIL is a shitty mnemonic that only works on a very narrow range of special cases.

The reason why parents use a different method than the kids is because when you graduate high school they teach you how to do math properly.

another option (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 7 months ago | (#46552313)

When your child gets stuck on a problem, you should call the teacher. If no contact with the teacher, call the principal. If no contact with the principal, call the superintendent. If no contact with the superintendent, call the school board members.

I'm gonna go and call BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552363)

Here is my personal experience:
My mother helped me with all my homework and I think that's a big reason why I did well in school.
She explained math problems to me, she helped me with memorizing that history and geology BS.
She helped me with dictation and grammar and all that stuff. There is a difference between helping with homework and doing it for you.
There is also a difference between helping your kid with homework and trying to teach what you think the kid should be learning.
Also, I have to ask, how does volunteering at school help? Volunteer to do what?
At my school we had teachers. The only parents who were ever there were in the library, and there were only 2 or 3 of them.
My parents had jobs, and honestly I can't think of how having one of them around all day at school would improve anything.
At primary school we didn't even have a library, so there were 0 parents involved at all times.

I should probably note that math (more accurately calculus) was one of my mothers favorite subjects when she was in school, so maybe that helped.

Do you know how to teach your chidren ? (1)

Lacompa Cida (3396233) | about 7 months ago | (#46552403)

When you help your children (I know, you just couldn't resist.), please think about whether you want them to finish the homework, or learn how to do the homework. If you just want to help them finish the homework, stop right there, and let them struggle. May be they can learn something from their struggling. If you want them to learn how to do it, learn how to teach first. Facts of Life: Those who wrote math text and teach math are not math experts. They are teaching experts. Their math may not be right.

Wrong answer (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 7 months ago | (#46552411)

They send kids home with homework in first grade nowadays. A lot of the instructions for the homework is hard for an adult to read. There's no way kids can even know what they're doing unless an adult instructs them.

seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552417)

I'm a parent, if I don't know something I research. If my kid comes with question I don't have we research and figure it out. Not everything is rocket science, but even if it was there's so much information out there (internet, library) that it's impossible not to find an answer.

Clarify Helping vs Doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552549)

I think the survey needs to clarify between parents helping, i.e explaining things when the child has a question or offer suggestions where the children can look when they are stuck on a problem and parents who actually do the homework, the ones that see their children struggle a bit and come over and supply them the answers. I wouldn't be surprised to see that what the study defines as helping is more on the end of parents doing the homework. This kind of help would naturally lead to children not comprehending the material and of course lower test scores.

STFU if you don't know what you are talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552593)

"Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework."

Applies to more than just helping kids with homework. Just read the comments to any Yahoo news article and you'll see many people who haven't the vaguest clue about the subject at hand offering their "wisdom".

Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552615)

My parents way of helping me with my homework was to yell and make me sit at the kitchen table all night even after I finished with it. My dad can do complex algebra in his head but never managed to teach me anything except that I'm 'slow gaited'. I could go on but it gets repetitive. I help my kids by showing them where to find the information. I don't do their homework but neither do I ignore them.

Probably not (2)

J Story (30227) | about 7 months ago | (#46552619)

And yet, homeschooled kids tend to outperform their bricks-and-mortar peers. According to the study, homeschoolers do slightly worse when their parents are teachers. My own suspicion is that when parents do their kids' homework, the kids don't bother learning what they don't need to.

Re:Probably not (0)

Ksevio (865461) | about 7 months ago | (#46552923)

That's a hard comparison to make because there aren't standard evaluations to compare them against each other. There are the parents that are very involved and help their kids succeed - those kids might go on to take the SAT where they can be easily compared to others.

Then there are the ultra-religious or parents that don't care as much who's children might not be getting a full education and just end up working at home or in the family business. They won't show up on the radar because they don't get evaluated.

If we had a kid(s) (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 7 months ago | (#46552631)

If we chose to have kids I'd certainly help them. Why? Because during my education I received what I consider a quality education. More in the math and sciences though I do enough editing of manuscripts and such that I could probably get them used to the right way of doing it and have many aruments with teachers.

But on the math side, I'm all over the common standards movement. To the point where I read the standards for math and agree with most of it and also added that we should start in 2nd or 3rd grade teaching kid alternative numbering systems like binary, octal, and hexadecimal. Once you learn the symbols for them it's easy.

Causation vs correlation (2)

itwasgreektome (785639) | about 7 months ago | (#46552641)

It is easy to confuse causation with correlation. Without an experiment, causation cannot be shown. Data suggests correlation only. To a person whose never taken a statistics course (a statistics course should be mandated for all students, would decrease people's gullibility), said data might look as though the parents that help with homework CAUSE poorer test scores. To someone who's used to seeing this causation fallacy, I see a possibility that kids who are doing poorly in school are more likely to be helped with their homework by their parents, and therefore it's the poor cognitive ability which CAUSES the parent to help, and the poor cognitive ability CAUSES the poor test scores.

giving answers vs insight (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 7 months ago | (#46552647)

I used to work in a tutoring center at my college, and something that came up more frequently than not was the students would show up with their homework, and tutors would end up giving them answers rather than teaching them how to find the answers themselves. I imagine that this kind of data might be highly related, since it's exactly what you'd expect if a parent is "helping" with homework by providing answers instead of real insight into the topics.

EXACTLY (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 7 months ago | (#46553017)

There has to be a rather large group of the population where they had this happen to them a lot; probably starting with their parents and continuing on up. They end up thinking this is how it is done. I've had some play stupid simply because they had learned it was easier to filibuster the process instead of actually thinking it out for themselves. It wastes so much time while they try to wear you down so you give them the answer. It's like a child pulling some trick they learned; but it is an adult playing the same game (so they can be more clever, making it harder for them to learn the error of their ways.)

A jewish advice is always long-term bad advice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552675)

Don't help your kids learn? Preposterous!

Establish good behaviors / patterns (2)

dave562 (969951) | about 7 months ago | (#46552695)

Helping with homework is such a broad subject that stretches from answering the occasional question, to doing the assignment for the kid. Based on my limited experience, the important thing to keep in mind is helping the child develop good behaviors. Show the child that doing homework is important by setting time aside every day for homework. Be engaged with the kid and communicate with them about what is going on at school. Give them some flexibility. "What order do you want to tackle your homework in?" "Do you want to go 30 or 45 minutes between breaks?" "How much of this semester long project do you want to get done this week?"

Homework is less about mastering subject matter and more about developing good habits. Kids go to school "all day". Parents definitely work all day. Those are jobs. The people who excel in their professions are the people who put in the extra effort. Professionals who put in the extra effort usually do it because they are fortunate enough to enjoy their profession. Kids do not get that perk. They are stuck with the subjects they have to learn. A parent who comes home from work and "tunes out", implicitly communicates to the kid that doing so is acceptable behavior. The parent who comes home and helps the kid with homework sets the example that just because they've "put in their 8 hours", it does not mean that they are done with their responsibilities.

Those of us who work in IT inherently set examples of strong work ethics, by being on call all the time. The challenge is to balance the work responsibility with finding time for the family. In most cases, having the discipline to not check emails for 2 hours while helping the kid with homework helps to establish healthy boundaries with employers as well.

One last perk... it helps you get laid. Oddly enough, mothers are turned on by men who help their children succeed. Go figure.

Well there's another important thing they can do (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 7 months ago | (#46552731)

Make sure they don't have a fucking crazy teacher who terrorizes them all day.(I had one that actually hated, I'm not making this up, smart kids. I only realized this years afterwards when I noticed my friends, who were the smart kids in that class, would individual say that she hated them. She hated me too and she hates every single one of the smart kids. Wait a minute, she didn't hate me, she just hates smart kids. She's a fucking kook.) If I ever have kids I'm definitely keeping my eye on them so that does not happen. (Guess I should be glad I didn't have the teacher who would regularly attack the 4th graders in her class. She only got fired because she attacked one of the good kids and didn't realize the superintendent was watching her through the window on the door. Kind of hard to explain that one when you do it right in front of him.)

I think the MAIN reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46552773)

I think the MAIN reason why it is better not to help children with their homework is NOT that parents may teach the wrong concepts because they don't know them themselves, but that children do not learn how to self motivate themselves: because they are told what to do at every step they don't learn how to deal with life's issues.

Right way and wrong way (1)

bbulkow (954499) | about 7 months ago | (#46552797)

What we've learned about "inside out" teaching (work-sessions at school, lectures over video at home) shows the result that while _doing_, one comes up against problems and wants to ask questions. If you have someone to ask real questions, and get real insights, they will progress much faster and much better. Delivering lectures to students is best done with different tech than we have now. Students that are behind don't ask questions - they don't want to look dumb - but they will review a lecture over and over until they get a key point.

And for the exact opposite effect... Homeschool. (3, Interesting)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 7 months ago | (#46552873)

If you want the exact opposite effect, homeschool your kids. This makes you far more involved in their education and lives plus they do far better than public school kids. One of the big benefits of homeschooling is that we don't have to have any arguments about what we're going to teach, no creationism vs evolution. We teach real science. We do real research. Homeschooling has been great, for us.

YMMV so do what you please.

correlation and causation? (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 7 months ago | (#46552907)

Did they take into account that they were engaged in an *observational* study?

The treatments students received weren't likely independent of how well the students were doing in the first place - i.e. when your kid does poorly, this prompts you to help him, so that this would increase positive correlation for receiving help from your parent and doing poorly.

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