Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework
homework, social class, parenting, middle school, early adolescence, American education
Education | Sociology
This qualitative study examines the relationship between homework help and social class and describes parents’ experiences and feelings about whether and how they help their eighth grade children with homework. Based on interviews with working- and middle-class parents, we find three types of engagement with homework among parents: 1) substantive help, 2) monitoring, and 3) fostering independence. Middle-class parents are somewhat more likely to offer substantive help than working-class parents, but middle-and working-class parents have similar levels of monitoring and fostering independence. Of the reasons respondents gave for not substantively helping with homework, working-class parents were more likely to point to their lack of knowledge or skill, while middle-class parents can pay for tutors when they do not understand the homework themselves. Social class is implicated in this analysis of parents’ involvement in homework by way of human capital disadvantage for working-class parents and financial capital advantage for middle-class parents.
Lutz, Amy and Lakshmi Jayaram. 2015. “Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework” International Journal of Education and Social Sciences 2(6): 73-84.
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