SOURCE: National Center for Family Literacy

September 17, 2013 01:00 ET

Half of Parents Have Trouble Helping Their Kids With Homework, Reveals New Survey

The National Center for Family Literacy Polled Parents, Offers Free Online Help to Get Back in School Year Swing

LOUISVILLE, KY--(Marketwired - Sep 17, 2013) - As kids nationwide are getting back into the homework routine, the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) teamed up with Google to ask parents the question many silently dread each fall -- are you ever unable to help your kids with their homework?

The new survey revealed that not only do nearly 50 percent of parents (49.1 percent)* admit to struggling with providing kids the homework help they need, but also nearly half (46.5 percent)** of parents with children in grades one through 12 who feel unable to lend a helping hand struggle because they themselves don't understand the subject matter.

A deeper look at why so many parents are having such a tough time helping their kids with schoolwork paints a compelling picture of the many challenges involved in raising a family today, including:

  • Nearly one in three of those parents who have trouble has difficulty connecting with their child, with 31.6 percent agreeing "my child doesn't want my help"
  • More than one in five parents who felt unable to help is too overwhelmed juggling everyday demands to devote the time required, with 21.9 percent agreeing, "I'm too busy"

"The most alienating and scary moments in any parent's life come when we feel powerless to give our kids what they need," said Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of NCFL. "Our goal is to give families of all backgrounds and means the tools to take control of their own learning together -- and the liberating thing about technology is we can now help them wherever they are, whenever they have a few free minutes." 

Kirkpatrick and the team of NCFL learning experts have shared five surprisingly simple tips to help parents build the confidence and skills they need to make a real difference in their kids' education:

  • Get online: seek out resources for yourself and for the kids, like Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity or Both are packed with content that aligns to Common Core State Standards and STEM topics currently taught in schools across the country
  • Make learning fun: encourage your kids to dig deeper into whatever interests them, whether that's a pet turtle, dancing or outer space, rather than relying on being told what to read
  • Feed curiosity: spend just three minutes over dinner sparking questions with a simple thought starter, like "What would you pack for a trip to outer space?" or "Do you daydream?"
  • Wonder on the go: spend downtime during a commute or waiting in line exploring fun, educational apps you can try out together
  • Talk to teachers: don't be afraid to ask how to reinforce classroom learning at home -- that's not being a helicopter parent, that's being helpful!

Survey Methodology

*This survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, August 22, 2013, to August 25, 2013, and based on 137 online responses. Sample: National adult Internet population.

**This survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys, August 26, 2013, to August 30, 2013, and based on 154 online responses. Sample: National adult Internet population.

For complete methodology, including weighting details, please contact Sara Crumley at

For more information on Google Consumer Surveys and their statistical validity, please see

About NCFL
The National Center for Family Literacy, founded in 1989 and based in Louisville, Ky., is the worldwide leader in family literacy. More than one million families have made positive educational and economic gains as a result of NCFL's work, which includes training more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers. Visit for more information.

Contact Information