By Aleksandra Vayntraub // SWNS


More than half of parents struggled with the same school subject as their kids do now, new research suggests.

A recent survey of 2,000 parents found that 56% felt most overwhelmed by math class as students, while 51% of their school-age children feel the same way today. 

Other subjects that gave both groups trouble included science (26% and 25%) and English/Language Arts (21% and 27%).   

It turns out, a cross-generational issue may be to blame: both parents and kids alike said their trickiest subject didn’t relate to their daily interests or activities, and that the books were hard to understand.

When asked to recall a favorite class or lesson from their school years, parents cited fond memories of making pottery, edible “kitchen science” and learning to play the trumpet.

One parent remembered a class where “we made a baking soda rocket and launched it outside several times,” while another cited a workshop where they “built many things out of wood: birdhouse, plaques, signs, miniature cars and puzzles.”

And 84% believe they would have gotten better grades if their school subjects had been more interactive, or had included fun lessons and activities.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sphero, the study also polled children aged six and older about what makes learning fun.

For 32% of kids, a “best day at school” involves getting paired up with their friends for a group project, more so than watching a video in class (19%).

More than half said they retain information better through tangible learning, or getting hands-on experience with a subject — more than through writing or talking it out (32%).

Kids also credited teachers with making difficult subjects more enjoyable by creating fun activities and lessons (61%) and using real-life examples that make sense to them (55%).

To make learning fun for their kids, over half of parents do their homework with them and find educational tools or programs online.

And 87% of parents would be open to new activities to try at home if it improved their child’s performance at school.

“It’s interesting to see that parents and kids struggled with the same subjects in school for similar reasons,” said Paul Copioli, Sphero’s CEO. “Our study shows that how information is presented to students can make a huge difference in how they perceive different areas of education, including more challenging subjects, like math and science.”

Seven in 10 parents also said learning remotely or in a non-traditional classroom environment has made it more difficult for their kid(s) to master certain subjects.

That includes math (57%), science (39%) and English/Language Arts (32%).

However, nearly two-thirds noted that within the past two years, they’ve seen their kid(s) get more excited about a subject they weren’t interested in before.

Fifty-five percent attribute this new interest to an engaging teacher, and 51% said their kids were taught in a new way.

“A collaborative, hands-on approach to education not only helps students rediscover their love for learning, but helps keep them engaged and interested in new subjects,” Copioli added. “Even subjects that kids may struggle with, like math and science, can become enjoyable when you add fun activities, and interactive, hands-on tools to their learning environment.”


  • Tangible learning — getting hands-on with a subject (51%)
  • Associating words with pictures (40%)
  • Using rhymes or songs (36%)
  • Writing it out (32%)
  • Discussion/Talking it out (32%)
  • Mnemonic devices (ex. Roy G. Biv., PEMDAS, etc.) (31%)


  • Creating fun activities and lessons (61%)
  • Using real-life examples that make sense to me (55%)
  • Letting students build and create things from scratch (46%)
  • Dressing up and/or doing skits to tell stories (18%)

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