# Answers to Your Most-Asked Math Homework Questions

Aug 23, 2023As the school year plunges forward, it won’t be long before the math homework starts to make its way to your table (if it hasn’t already). In grades 3rd - 6th, homework usually consists of reading independently in order to meet a reading goal, or math worksheets. This begins the dreaded summons that cause parents all over the world to cringe that goes something like…..”Mooooom/Daaaaad! I need help with my math homework!”

When this happens math homework can be just as stressful for parents as it is for students and we’ve noticed a theme of questions that come flooding out of the gates of frustration. You’ve got questions, a lot of them, and we’ve got answers! Keep reading to get the inside scoop on some of the most common questions parents ask regarding math homework in this 2-part series. In Part 1 we address the questions of **Why is there so much more math homework than in other subjects? How important is math homework and does it really matter if you are not grading it?** and **Why do you give my child problems they don’t know how to do, or problems you haven’t taught them yet?**

**"Why is there so much more math homework than in other subjects?**"

Math teachers are not trying to make your life hard. In fact, we usually have a twinge of guilt associated with assigning so much homework. However, the truth is that time is fleeting in math class. Teachers are trying to squeeze in a quick **review** of important previous skills learned, introduce and teach a **new** skill, model for students **example problems** and provide an opportunity for students to solve **practice problems** with guidance and support. This leaves little to no time for students to independently practice, which is a crucial step in the learning process. This conundrum makes assigning homework necessary. Add into this equation that most math curriculums are jam packed with more lessons than it seems possible to cover in one school year. This leaves teachers with no option except to move at a fast pace of trying to cover at least a lesson every other day if not one a day, which results in frequent homework assignments.

**"How important is math homework, and does it really matter if you are not grading it?"**

Math homework is extremely important. As previously stated, many times it is the only opportunity students get to repeatedly practice solving problems independently, which is what they will be required to do come test day. Imagine taking a ballroom dancing class where the instructor tells you all the basic steps of the foxtrot, then performs the dance in front of you and allows you to practice with your partner once or twice with guidance. Would you be ready to walk out onto the dance floor in a week and execute the dance perfectly in front of judges without repeatedly practicing the dance in a comfortable space where you could mess up, learn from your mistakes and then continue to practice until you got it right? Of course not! This is essentially why math homework is so important. Students need time to practice!

**"Why do you give my child problems they don’t know how to do, or problems you haven’t taught them yet?"**

For the record, this is a controversial topic and one that we do not condone. In the past and currently there has been a trend called “productive struggle” that has been promoted as a teaching strategy that promotes higher level thinking and increases student achievement. In the publication, __Myths That Undermine Math Teaching__*, *productive struggle is defined as, “when educators present students with hard and complex mathematics problems that require students to grapple with problem solving and persevere through missed steps or failures to determine a solution to the problem” (Powell, Hughes & Peltier, 2022). The authors go on to say that, “The struggle many students experience is frustrating and wasteful rather than productive.” (A quote I 100% agree with). So don’t shoot the messenger, we are just answering the question. Just one of the many reasons we started developing the resources we offer at Ignite Learning Company like our __FREE Grade Level Math Guides__ and our __Math Hero Membership for Parents__. We want to help you, help your child be successful and not struggle with frustration.

I feel like it should also be stated that many times, if your student doesn’t know how to work a math problem, it may also be that they just didn’t get it in class or maybe were absent when it was taught. In addition, teachers frequently assign problems from lessons taught previously in the year in an effort to improve students’ retention of the knowledge, but sometimes a student may not remember it.

Students are not the only ones that do not necessarily like math homework, but understanding the why and the value of it helps us all, parents and teachers, keep things in perspective. In Part 2 of this series we will dive into other burning questions such as * Why does my child need to learn so many different methods to solve one type of math problem? What is the best way for me as a parent to provide support to my child with their math homework? *And

**Why does my child have to show their work if they can solve the problem in their head?*** *Have more questions you would like to ask? We would LOVE to hear from you! Just shoot us an email at __[email protected].__

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