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Parents, are you doing your child's homework?

Monday - 3/24/2014, 6:53am  ET

ParentsHomework.JPG
Forty-three percent of 778 parents recently surveyed say they do their kids' homework. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Do you do your child's homework?

WTOP's Randi Martin reports

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WASHINGTON - There's no skating around the fact: Kids come home with a lot of homework -- and sometimes it's hours of work, piled on top of afterschool activities, dinner and family time.

To help your kids through the afternoons and evenings, are you doing some of this work?

Forty-three percent of 778 parents recently surveyed by Ask.com say they do their child's homework for them; 38 percent of the homework done by parents is math.

Parenting coach and clinical psychologist Laura Markham says as a parent, if you are doing any of your child's homework, you are doing too much.

"If you give in and do the work at all, really, then your child is learning nothing," she says. "It will only get worse and you will dig a deeper hole for tomorrow."

Rather, Markham says, the best thing to do is help your child stay calm, focused and organized so he can get through his assignments without too much stress.

This advice sounds ideal, but in reality, most kids and parents are already strained by the daily grind of extracurricular activities and household responsibilities. Markham suggests this scenario is what prompts many parents to pick up a pencil and tackle their little one's algebra equations.

"Parents have much harder lives with their children now that most of the time both parents are working outside of the home. The stress of getting homework done can just be too much," she says.

However, Markham emphasizes parents should refrain from the impulse to speed things along.

"I don't think parents should do any homework," she says.

How do you handle homework in your house? Let us know in the comments section of this story, on Twitter or on the WTOP Facebook page. Until then, a local parent shares her experience on the homework matter.


Homework vs. lemonade
By Gina Brown

"Mommy, I don't want us to do homework. Let's just talk about our day."

As parents, we might hear this statement more often than not. And frankly, don't we just want to talk about our day, too?

For many of us, gone are the days of meeting our kids at the bus stop at 3 p.m. and having some time to play before we complete homework, have dinner and get ready for bed.

We work. And we work long hours.

As I drive home from work, I always wonder what sort of homework will be waiting for me when I get home. Will it be the new math again?

What is this new math thing they are doing in fourth grade? My fourth-grader gets math homework that looks vaguely familiar, but when I say, "Oh, let's just borrow this and carry the one…," she looks at me and says, "No mom, we don't do it that way."

So I say what all good parents say in that situation, "Honey, mommy knows how to do math. Back in my day, I was in honors math. I think I know a thing or two about math."

And then I promptly send her teacher an email.

Old math worked for decades, if not longer. Did old math break at some point?

Something must have happened to it before I had kids -- I should have been paying better attention. Gosh, I hope I kept that cheat sheet I had last night so I don't have to Google how to do everything again.

And then there is my first-grader's homework … My 6-year-old just completed a research project about the White House. She was asked to do it on her computer. Does a 6-year-old have a computer? How many teeth have to fall out before she has enough saved up to get a computer?

I'm not saying I resent having to come home from work and then do homework. Well, actually I am saying that -- come on, at 6 years old, I couldn't color inside the lines. (I still think lines are restricting, but I digress.)

Admittedly, I had a little fun doing our White House project, but mostly because I drive by it every day on my way to work. Now I know a little more about it. And so does my first-grader.

Teachers, how about this: If I promise to teach my children patience, listening skills, respect and all the useful skills they will need to get by in everyday life, will you stop sending homework home? I used to feel like the smart one in the house, but I'm struggling to keep up. I want to be top dog again.

The latest request from my 6-year-old is getting serious consideration from me.

"Mommy, I hate that you have to work and then come home and do homework. Can you just run a lemonade stand with us?"

Editor's Note: Gina Brown has always viewed the world through a comedic lens. By day she does partner marketing for a very large nonprofit and by evening, her quick wit and knack for storytelling has her penning a book of Gina-isms and performing on stage. She is a divorced mom to two school-age girls, both of whom provide constant fodder.

Follow along Gina's twisting path at ginabrown.com, @ginanicolebrown and Gina Brown Comedy on Facebook.

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