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(SFGate)   Parents, if you're trying to help your children with their homework, stop it. You're not helping   (blog.sfgate.com) divider line 29
    More: Interesting, homework, parental involvement, test scores, helping  
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5706 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Mar 2014 at 11:11 PM (38 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-27 07:58:29 PM  
9 votes:
I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.
2014-03-28 12:31:47 AM  
5 votes:

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


1) that method isn't more difficult TO YOU because it's more difficult. It's more difficult because it's not how you learned it.

2) I just read the wiki, and I completely understand it's operation, and is seems pretty simplistic.
2014-03-27 11:19:31 PM  
4 votes:
I don't know how they did the study, but it could be another failure of causation:  the kids that aren't as good at schoolwork "need" more help from parents, while the ones who find it easy don't get help because they don't need it.
2014-03-28 12:58:33 AM  
3 votes:

Happy Father: You are lucky I never would bring stuff to my mom or grandparents. Bunch of Phd's they actually explained Snells law and diffraction to me when I asked why the sky was blue. I was 5, seriously would have a "because it is" have been too hard?


Got the skinny from Asimov at 7 "Rayleigh Scattering is why the sky's so blue/And testicular hormones are why I love you"  I was told not to repeat it at school, but I was encouraged to use the library to find out what was what and then explain it (my parents were good people).

Used the same method with our daughters.  However, we also provided both a location (where at least one of us could see them) to do nothing but study and do homework. The rule was:  When you find yourself drifting to something other than studying - get up and go do something else until you can concentrate on the task, again.  This was, over the years, very effective (must start early for the drill to take).

/think most parents should get a copy of George Polya's, How to Solve It (not to provide answers but, rather, suggesting the questions one might ask)
2014-03-27 11:52:46 PM  
3 votes:
Show me some proof that homework is beneficial in the first place.
2014-03-27 11:28:21 PM  
3 votes:

12349876: gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.

Except when the concepts are different from how the teacher teaches it.  Teachers don't like "This is how Mom learned it in school"


If the teacher has an issue with the parents teaching method, then they can contact the parents and explain how they are doing it so everyone is on the same track.  All the homework I have seen from my daughter had instructions that I could read to keep pace with what she was learning.  If it was something I did not understand then I contacted the teacher for clarification so I could help in the future.
2014-03-28 11:21:37 AM  
2 votes:

Ulfhednar: She was able to, and I asked "and then what happened?" She cited it as one of the straws that broke the camel's back on the way to the Rev war. Then I said: "No back to our discussion on 0bamacare (previously), what are the people's reaction? What should it be, if they were freakin about stamps on their paper goods, etc?"


Wow, you're an idiot, and you're training your daughter to be one to.

They weren't freaking out about having a tax on paper goods, they were freaking out because they didn't have representation in the government that enacted that tax.
2014-03-28 01:16:44 AM  
2 votes:

Iszael: Article is BS.  I've had to go to the school and correct the teachers on multiple occasions.

Just yesterday my seventh-grader's science teacher told them they could only taste sweet flavors with the tip of the tongue and all that other insane, easily disprovable "tongue map" stuff that was debunked years ago.


There's a running issue with US science teachers because they're actually usually studying at the level that they're teaching-- e.g. they have an education degree and are looking stuff up as they plan their lessons and have to put a large degree of trust in their reference material that may or may not be merited.  It's not a problem that's easily fixed, because it's rooted in the fact that anyone educated enough for high-school-level stuff to be "common knowledge" (basically people that didn't skip out of their science classes in undergrad by taking "physics for future presidents" and other in-name-only science classes) can usually pretty easily get a 'real' job instead (where you can support a family with one earner etc).

So... basically, while you're not  wrong you're sort of picking on someone who, while they're a dumb motherfarker, isn't really at  fault for being a dumb motherfarker, they're stuck teaching a subject they probably rather wouldn't because there was no one else to do it.

Rather than your chosen tack of helicoptering the hell out of your kid and wasting the teacher's time, maybe consider volunteering to do science demos or something?  My mother used to do those about once a week on the equivalent of her lunch break, showing up at my siblings' elementary school and do simple demos like the old "tie a ball-bearing thrower to a toy train to demonstrate conservation of linear momentum" and so on.

Basically if you see an instructor that's overwhelmed maybe offering to help could be a less-destructive method of intervention rather than showing up to yell at 'em.

// I would say I'm not sure why I have to lecture a grown-ass adult human on basic goddamned conflict resolution that most five-year-olds understand, but unfortunately I  have met parents before.
2014-03-28 12:01:48 AM  
2 votes:
Article is BS.  I've had to go to the school and correct the teachers on multiple occasions.

Just yesterday my seventh-grader's science teacher told them they could only taste sweet flavors with the tip of the tongue and all that other insane, easily disprovable "tongue map" stuff that was debunked years ago.  Of course, she knew he was wrong because she'd been watching Alton Brown and he's much more believable...

Yes, of course, the kids won't get it if you don't know how to help them.  No, of course you shouldn't just do the work for them.  But if you actually know how to teach the subject (possibly better than their teachers) you'd be remiss not to educate them.
2014-03-27 11:41:35 PM  
2 votes:

gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.


My father tried to explain algebra to me once.  Three hours and I didn't get it.

When the actual teacher explained it I picked it up in about a minute and spent the rest of the class bored.  Basic calculus (essentially cal 1) I picked up in an hour watching one of those old instructional videos (literally, on VHS) and then spent the entire actual class bored.

What I'm saying here is that even a parent that knows things may not have the same skill at imparting it as the actual teachers, institutions, and materials used in primary and secondary instruction.  There is an actual technique involved in teaching pre-secondary kids, you can't just throw out your knowledge and expect 'em to pick it up until late high school at the earliest.  It's more like training than providing information.

Albeit, I'm in the "feel free to try, it can't hurt" camp on this one.  Even if you fail to actually impart your knowledge to your kid, you're still spending time with them over a shared interest (well, for a certain value of "interest" depending on the kid) and frankly if you screw it up any teacher is willing to correct any misconceptions you may have introduced without being upset about it (short of you teaching your kid that black people are inferior or to kill the Jews or whatever).  Just expressing interest even is good for a child, as annoyed as I get by folks that overdo it and go helicopter I reserve my actual  hatred for the parents that don't even try.
2014-03-27 11:29:48 PM  
2 votes:
I have an alternative hypothesis.  The smart kids never need any tutoring from the parents.  The not so bright do.  Perhaps it isn't that the parental tutoring is hurting performance, but the kids were just more stupid than their peers to begin with.
2014-03-27 11:21:54 PM  
2 votes:

gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.


Except when the concepts are different from how the teacher teaches it.  Teachers don't like "This is how Mom learned it in school"
2014-03-28 11:22:13 AM  
1 votes:
to = too
2014-03-28 10:47:23 AM  
1 votes:

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been arrowound for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


Lattice method: My daughter rox that out when it comes to big-ass numbers. Wish I'd known about it back I the day
2014-03-28 08:04:00 AM  
1 votes:
I pretty much limited my helping to teaching them how to use the text book.  "Oh look, an instruction section followed by several examples, which exactly parallel the same problem that you have!"  I'd go through and explain the examples, but never the actual homework problem.

I'd proofread papers, only after they were written.   Prior to writing, the only advice I'd give was get massive amounts of information that you find interesting, then organize it.

The one thing I did help my kids with was with time organization, and how to use a calendar system to mark the due date and significant project goals on paper.  This freed me from having to nag them to get started on long term projects.  Sometimes the best lesson a parent can teach is to let them learn the consequences of failing.
2014-03-28 07:45:05 AM  
1 votes:

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


That Wiki is horrible.  It is the equivalent to the old "Step 2: Profit!" meme.
Seriously, the step two part of that completely falls on its face.  You don't go bottom to top, you go from right to left following the diagonal down, put the sum outside the grid at the end of the diagonal, carry the one or whatever, if there is one, to the next diagonal and keep going in that manner until you run out of diagonals.
A better description of Lattice is here or here.  It's quite simple but you still need to know basic multiplication to use it.  Its real strength is reinforcing idea of keeping things organized because of positional number weighting.  Most kids mess up because they can't keep their columns straight and they add up things wrong.  This helps alleviate that.
2014-03-28 01:09:03 AM  
1 votes:

Shakin_Haitian: It's just a short cut for multiplication. It's slightly convoluted but I could see the use for that method for people who don't understand number places.


I think it's elegant, actually. It's not that different from the usual method; you're still multiplying every digit by every other digit, but instead of carrying as you go, you just save all the carrying until the very end. I like it!
2014-03-28 12:36:18 AM  
1 votes:

balki1867: haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.

A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)


It's just a short cut for multiplication. It's slightly convoluted but I could see the use for that method for people who don't understand number places.
2014-03-28 12:24:53 AM  
1 votes:
I farking hated homework when I was in school, no farking way am I helping those little cockblocks.
2014-03-28 12:17:46 AM  
1 votes:

haolegirl: Well, I messed up royally with my oldest kid. First I taught her how to write her name, wrong (hint: it's NOT all caps)then I let the neighbor kid teach her cursive (kindergarten is too soon). I am not the parent who gives the answer, so I have that going for me. Also, and the daughter of an engineer I understand the beauty of the short simple answer! I never could figure out why 2+2= hour long lecture about the many ways you can check the answer to make sure it's right.


A while back a coworker was telling us about how difficult it was to teach her daughter multiplication.  We were all ribbing her about it, until she mentioned that the school taught her daughter something called the lattice method, and when she takes a test she has to use this method.  Then we googled the lattice method and it was the most over-complicated method of trying to multiply two numbers I've ever seen.  We were grown adults who knew how to multiply, yet none of us could understand how to use this bizarre method.  I finally figured it out, but it wasn't intuitive at all.  They basically found a way to take a really practical operation -- multiplication -- and turn it into some weird blackbox voodoo thing.

Read about it yourself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_multiplication

(Now that I reread the wikipedia, it's apparently been around for a long time, but I sure as heck never learned this in school.  This would've easily sent my elementary math education backwards a few months)
2014-03-28 12:12:44 AM  
1 votes:
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674725102">http://www .hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674725102
Da book of da study.
A sentence of da summary.
"The study's surprising discovery is that no clear connection exists between parental involvement and improved student performance. "
Yeah, turns out that once again a newspaper headline is far from a reliable summary fit for a bumper sticker.
2014-03-27 11:54:40 PM  
1 votes:
In elementary school I was crap at math but good at everything else.  My father forced me to memorize the multiplication tables.  It was the only thing he ever made me do under duress.  At the time it felt like terrible oppression and I put up a lot of resistance.  In retrospect, it saved my ass.
2014-03-27 11:50:36 PM  
1 votes:

Happy Father: The issues I see with it come from parents having too much knowledge of the subject. They do not remember the difficulty of learning 5 time 10 is fifty they know it in less than a second. Here is where peer instruction and Hagans strategies become useful. What a good teacher does is record the lecture so it can be played repeatedly at the students leisure. Then you have them answer the questions in class discuss in groups and then answer again. It forces kids to do the heavy lifting with others who understand the obstacles


Can't help but be reminded of that thread the other day where the dad answered his kids logic question about subtraction with the answer to the subtraction example, and not the actual logic question being asked.

And the guy bragged he was an engineer.
2014-03-27 11:42:38 PM  
1 votes:
I find the comments from the parents here determined to be involved proof the article is valid.
2014-03-27 11:29:49 PM  
1 votes:
If your child has you doing his/her homework, then congratulations. You have a manager in the making. Sure, he/she won't be "the talent" at work, but he/she will manage "the talent. Don't worry that they can't do the homework alone, it's enough that they know it needs to be done...even if by someone else.
2014-03-27 11:23:58 PM  
1 votes:
It was my understanding that a child's education was the responsibility of both the school and the parents.  Well at least that is how I and most of the parents I know feel about it.  Seems like a way out for parents who 'Ain't got time for that'.
2014-03-27 11:14:57 PM  
1 votes:
Is it because the parents are getting the answers wrong?
2014-03-27 09:45:41 PM  
1 votes:
I helped my mom with her college homework when I was in high school.
2014-03-27 08:55:52 PM  
1 votes:

gnosis301: I imagine that it depends on how you help.  If you're doing the problems for your child, no you aren't.  But if you're discussing concepts, I don't see the problem.


This.
 
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