Parents admit that tackling numbers puts them in a spin

Article date: 12 January 2015

  • Parents reveal their fear of homework, with formulas and fractions topping the list!

Two thirds of parents admit they’re bottom of the class when trying to help out with school homework dished out to their kids, it emerged today*.

The study of 2,000 parents, which was commissioned by Aviva, revealed parents fall short when it comes to classroom classics like maths and science, leaving them feeling red-faced when they’re not able to help. The research was commissioned to launch the Tackling Numbers programme in partnership with Premiership Rugby, aimed at improving children’s confidence in numeracy skills.

Four in ten parents admitted there was competition between themselves and other parents when it came to homework, and a sneaky half of the parents surveyed even admitted turning to Google when trying to help their kids.

Maths topped the list as the subject that parents struggle with the most, with algebra, fractions and trigonometry least welcomed at home. As well as decimals and dimensions putting parents in a spin, Roman History and the Periodic Table also leave them scratching their heads.

The Top 10 homework topics parents dread most 

  1. Algebra
  2. Fractions
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Pythagoras theorem
  5. Ratios
  6. Roman history
  7. Long division
  8. American Civil War
  9. The Periodic Table
  10. Formation of atoms -protons/ neutrons

Heather Smith, Marketing Director, Aviva UK said:

“It’s unsurprising that maths tops the list of subjects parents dread the most. As a parent myself, I know first-hand the challenges faced when it comes to helping with homework.

“With over half of parents admitting they wished they’d tried harder at school, we have a responsibility to give our children the foundation for good financial literacy in in the future.

“Whether it’s at home or in the classroom, the Aviva Tackling Numbers programme is an engaging resource that builds children’s and parents’ confidence in numeracy skills”.

Over a third of parents worry that they’re being judged by their children’s teachers on the quality of their child’s homework, results showed.

More than half of the 2,000 studied now wished they had tried harder at school it emerged, with maths a topic they really regretted not focussing more on.

Perhaps that’s because three in ten felt pressure to know the answers when their child came to them for help and more than a fifth would rather avoid having to help or leave it to a partner.

Heather Smith added: ‘’The study shows that many parents suffer a lack of confidence in helping with homework and no doubt the list of topics will serve up memories of their classroom days they may not be fond of.

‘’However, it’s important that we do everything possible to equip our children in key areas like numeracy from an early age and develop their confidence in these areas.

‘’As adults we might not recall the things we learned about the Romans or the periodic table, but core skills like literacy and numeracy are so crucial that building confidence in these areas as early as possible should be a priority.’’

You can put your maths to the test and find out more about the Tackling Numbers programme by visiting


If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Jennifer Mitton: Synergy Sponsorship: (0203 128 6825): (07855323245): (
Will Mitchell: Synergy Sponsorship: (0203 128 6798): (07796796548): (

Notes to editors:

Additional research findings:

The Top 30 homework topics parents dread most

Pythagoras theorem
Roman history
Long division
American Civil War
The Periodic Table
Formation of atoms -protons/ neutrons
Spreadsheet formulas
Types of clouds - Cumulus etc.
Technical drawing
World War I
The Stuarts
Longitude and Latitude
World War II
Similes/alliteration/ poetry terms
Tudors/Henry VIII
The Industrial revolution
Whole numbers
Prime numbers
The Egyptians
Negative numbers
Coastal erosion

The study also found that answering questions on the Periodic table sees many a parent out of their element.

And knowing their cumulus from their nimbus puts many a parent in a stew, as does getting their heads around Shakespeare, the World Wars and probability.

Roman history also has parents scratching their head and many get a sick feeling in the stomach when their child asks them to help with long division.

About the study:

*Polling conducted by Onepoll in October 2014, with 2000 parents across the UK.

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