# Not even Jessica Alba can figure out how to do primary school maths.

She’s a celebrity mum who ‘has it all’, except the ability to help her six-year-old daughter complete her maths homework…

Jessica Alba has confessed that she struggles to help her daughter with her homework, particularly when it comes to maths.

High five.

Down low.

Sing it sister.

The actress told US Weekly,  “Honor is reading chapter books and doing math – but it’s so different from when I learned math. It’s all about grouping numbers. I look at it and I’m like, ‘Is that algebra? In the first grade?’

In Australia, that dreaded maths is part of a new maths movement called ‘flexible methods’ that involve such concepts as the Ten Method (whereby you round the number to the nearest ‘ten’ before adding or subtracting) and I too have no idea how to help my kids do it. I was taught the good-old-fashioned rote learning (repeat, repeat, repeat!) method where you added and subtracted exact numbers, over and over and over again until it was drilled into your head.

These days children are learning that maths is ‘creative’ and ‘flexible. Mike Askew, Professor of Primary Education at Monash University, Melbourne explained the concept to planningwithkids.com, saying, ‘They are teaching the children that you need to adjust what you are doing depending on the numbers you are working with. The kids are taught that there is more than one way to arrive at the answer.’

It seems that primary school maths in the US, where Jessica Alba’s daughter attends school, has followed a similar path.

Alba has two daughters with husband Cash Warren, six-year-old Honor and three-year-old Haven. She says she likes the fact they are using new methods to teach maths to students, but added, “I don’t really understand it. So it’s challenging.”

She is still able to help her three-year-old though. "Haven is getting her letters down and counting."

Nothing makes a parent feel dumber than when they can't help their children with their homework. If it weren't for Google, I'd be lost. However math is a completely different story. The fact that schools are using brand spanking new methods of teaching it means many parents are being left behind. Dinner place mats listing Times Tables and secret use of fingers for adding and subtracting are frowned upon.

Come on. Fingers are the perfect counting device!

Do you hate homework? So does Holly Wainwright. Listen in to our parenting podcast This Glorious Mess...

It is no secret that I have a huge massive problem with the amount of homework children are expected to get through. So far, Alba is only dealing with one school-aged child, but wait until it is two.

I have three who all bring home different homework tasks. Aside from the maths homework which normally gets delegated to their father, I'm pretty handy at the rest. It's just so labour-intensive. We have to research things, build things, collect things, and it can become incredibly overwhelming, leaving children deflated and parents frustrated.

Now that my oldest is 11 I am shifting homework responsibilities to him. He only comes to me when needed. However my seven-year-old and five-year-old still need a sit down session each night to get through their homework requirements.

I vaguely remember my children's school holding an EMU maths info session (in fact I think they have held several) and boy am I kicking myself that I didn't attend.

It seems the amount of homework kids are expected to do these days is here to stay. Let's just hope it doesn't get harder than it already is or Jessica Alba and I are stuffed.

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Do you sometimes have trouble helping your children with their homework? What do you find most challenging about it?

Want more? Try:

"My four-year-old gets homework and I'm okay with that."

Jessica Alba just made a mum-confession that makes us love her even more.

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