Articles / Is Science The New Taboo Subject at Home?: Why Some Parents Do Not Help With Science Homework

Is Science The New Taboo Subject at Home?: Why Some Parents Do Not Help With Science Homework

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Stephen Hinton, Managing Director of Hinton Human Capital
Education Starts At Home, Right?

They say “education starts at home” but what if parents are not sure what to teach? On the subject of drugs it is easy “Just say no.” The slogan was straight to the point and was accompanied by a set of public service announcements designed to equip parents to have conversations about drugs with their children. However when comes science, there are a number of programs to help students to get into college, but nothing to equip the parents help their K-12 aged children with science homework. Recent studies have found that some parents may not be ready to help their kids with science because they may not have a good science education themselves. Our question in this article: Is science the new taboo at home?

Taboo? Is Drugs an Easier Subject At Home Than Science?

The word “taboo” makes us think of something immoral, forbidden or evil from a religious standpoint. However the word has an additional meaning “A ban or inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.” A 2009 survey sponsored by Intel Corporation found that parents are more comfortable talking to their children about drugs than science. 91% of the parents in the survey believed that science is important to their children’s future. However nearly 25 % of parents admitted they were unsure how to approach the subject or did not have a good enough understanding of science to assist their children with homework and projects. A another study conducted in 2007 by Michigan State University concluded,“Approximately 28% of American adults currently qualify as scientifically illiterate.”

Helping With Science Homework is More Than Knowing Answers.

At this point, I want to speak to both of us as parents. Yes, I said both of us because I am talking to myself as I am writing this article to you. Is it ok with you that I get to the point? I hope so.

As a parent, I know that it is hard to allow our children to see our vulnerabilities. Some of us choose not to help our children with science homework to “avoid” telling them the wrong things. The real truth is that we are self-conscious about what we know (or remember) about science. I will confess that I loved science in school and love it now. But, I too have had a problem remembering some of the things I learned in third grade and sixth grade science class (my sons’ grade levels). The lesson I have learned in writing this article is this: The essence of science is not just learning the right answer, it is the discoveries we make along the way toward the right answer. I have also learned that my primary job as a parent in helping with science homework is helping my children learn to discover. This concept is hard to apply because it means that I, as parent, have to put away my own aversions, inhibitions and pride to discover with them.