Britney Spears Is Taking Math Classes to Help Sons with ‘Hard’ Homework

03/27/2015 at 02:45 PM ET

Britney Spears opens up about raising sons, date nights with her new man, and whether she’ll marry again. Subscribe now for an inside look at the popstar’s life now, plus exclusive at-home photos, only in PEOPLE.

Sooner or later, most parents find themselves stumped by their child’s math homework. For Britney Spears, a hands-on mom to sons Sean Preston, 9, and Jayden James, 8, the moment has arrived.

“They go to a really hard school, and this week we had three hours of homework [a night],” the popstar tells PEOPLE in this week’s at-home cover story. “Some of it is hard for me. Next year when [Preston’s] in fifth grade, he’s going to be doing pre-algebra, and I’m taking classes so I know how to do it!”

As Mom brushes up on math, the kids have their own incentive to do well. “Homework is a priority, and we have a reward system that helps motivate them,” she says. “If they get so many A’s, they get one toy a month.”

Britney Spears and Sons
Jeff Lipsky for PEOPLE

When the boys aren’t hitting the books — or the skateboard half-pipe, trampoline or jungle gym in the backyard at the family’s Southern California home — they might just be found in front of a mirror.

“The kids just got into doing their hair and trying to be cool, which is really funny,” says Spears, laughing. “Preston wants to be Justin Bieber, and Jayden has this whole Jim Carrey look.”

For more of Spears’s exclusive interview and to see our at-home photo shoot, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

— Elizabeth Leonard

FILED UNDER: Britney Spears , Exclusive , Kids , News

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Whatever on

I am glad that she has turned her life around!

Anne Ganrs on

Sounds like a typical mom. It’s easy to forget how to do certain things we are taught in school. It’s not like we solve algebra problem sets every day. Just wait until they get to Trig!

arabrabbra on

America is so backwards. Worst education system in the civilized worlds. What a waste. 3 hours of homework and nothing but a nation of morons. Finland, China, Belgium, Japan, Canada, England, everyone has better education than we do. So sad. Good for you Brit for trying to support the kids through this non sense

sue's on

proud of her for turning her life around.

Jen on

I have a masters degree and can barely comprehend the common core math they teach kids now LOL

Taylor on

Good for her!! That’s awesome!

Homework was always such a pain. I used to struggle in math, certain types were just hard for me. I had a learning disability. Its not that I was not trying to do it, its just that it took me longer to get it. I will say that my parents were always there to help me whenever I needed something, not just in math but in all subjects. I really admire her for helping and supporting her kids. I admire that she makes them a priority as they should be. 🙂

EmilyMae on

@People Magazine – can you tell me where I can find Britney’s dress? It is beautiful!

Les on

That’s great that she is putting effort into her children’s educations and thinking ahead. If I were her and had her resources though, I think I would probably hire a top notch math tutor (and Chinese teacher, and music teacher, and lots of other amazing resources for child development that money CAN buy), and find another way to spend quality time with my children.

Guest on

It may be easier to hire a math tutor. The math will only get harder as they advance in school. I wasn’t the best in math. I hire a math tutor who was also a math teacher for my son while he was in school. A lot of school teachers tutor on the side for extra money. They know the curriculum in school and have the skills to teach them the correct method. I’d rely on a professional, but this is just my opinion.

Angie on

3 hours of homework is just insane! I understand that homework is necessary but I wish they’d cut it down some. I’d hate to go to work for 8 hours and day then have to work 3 more hours every day when I got home. To expect that out of a child is absurd. I’m really happy for her though. She has seemed to turn her life around so much! I also think it’s great she’s taking math classes to help her kids. I wish I could do that! Mine are almost 15 and 13 though so, they’re past pre-algebra at this point.

liz on

I used to be a math teacher and I’d tutor her boys like I did my other “student”: for free. I love math as much now as I did in college

Summer on

This is wonderful. She has really proved what a strong, healthy kind person she is. I am so happy that her family is doing well.

Kellie on

Good! This new math they teach now is so confusing! My kids school offers free parental math courses. It’s a must!

Shaindy on

What a lovely woman she’s grown into. So glad to see her happy, healthy and successful, and her boys are just adorable. Good for her.

Anonymous on


Janice on

I’m so happy for her. I agree with some of the comments about hiring a math tutor. She can also take math classes to help her understand some of the math concepts, but the tutor can help her kids.

Nichole on

Britney has really grown up into a mature woman, and I love the fact that she is hands on with her sons. Other Hollywood mom’s should take notes, instead of putting themselves before their children just to stay in the media.

lola on

What a wonderful thing for her to do for herself and her boys! They say the only other time in your life that you’ll use algebra is when you grow up and have to help your kids with their homework. Ha!

lala on

@arabrabbra … isn’t that the sad truth. And it isn’t just education where we are failing.

As for Britney — If I had her money, I think I’d hire a tutor versus going to school to attempt to keep up with my children’s homework. I’d rather know that they have someone who can answer their questions correctly, instead of attempting to help and possibly confusing them.

Chloe on

Listen, that was a pretty snarky headline. I wasn’t a superstar before I was a teenager, and I would have trouble remembering my algebra, too.

I am glad she seems in a stable place, and is embracing motherhood.

She gave you access, PEOPLE. You gave her an insult in return.

Sandeana on

I thought that Kevin Federline, father of Sean & Jayden had primary custody of both boys. He definitely seemed like the more fit parent. The oldest boy, Sean is a replica of his dad. He is Kevin’s clone.

Deborah on

Here in So Calif, common core is huge, but the school district do have a parent help website for homework, and THANK GOD for that!

Kim on

I am so annoyed by all the homework my child comes home with for only being in 3rd grade. What are they doing with the kids for the 8 hours they do have them??? In my opinion, they should have just a bit less so there can be family fun time. Not work all the time and only 5 minutes of playtime. Work hard, play harder!!! Especially not fair for those of us who are single parents and working full time.

Anonymous on

Superstar? She is a celebrity not a superstar,

KatinJax on

Glad to see she has turned her life around and that she is raising her boys. They look happy. Good job Britney!

kaye on

3 hours of homework? Not necessarily a sign of a quality education. Quality v.s. quantity may hold true here. Hold the teachers accountable Britney – you’re paying for it.

Peter on

I’m proud of you Britney, you’re an amazing mom. Such a wonderful person. Everyone’s asking her to hire a tutor, people forget that she already hires a lot of help as she works a lot and simply wants to motivate her kids and bond with them through sharing their learning experience. She could hire someone to tutor them as they get older but now she simply wants to do the work. Kudos Brit. We are proud of you!

Guest on

Wouldn’t a tutor be better?

Anonymous on

People need to start holding teachers accountable for doing their job!! Instead of sending their job home with kids!!! Can I send my work to them for them to do?!?! Do your jobs teachers and teach!!! Focus on the weaker students instead of those who already understand!!! If you have students that are failing you are NOT doing your job YOU are failing NOT the student!!!

Teacher on

Most research shows that there is a weak correlation between amount of homework and academic success until you get into high school. In lower grades a little homework can help build study skills and good habits, though. 30 minutes nightly for 3rd. grade is sufficient! And it should mostly be the kind of drill and practice that can be completed independently. The teaching should be done only with direct instruction during school hours. (Unless the family enjoys the process and finds it helpful rather than tedious/frustrating.)

Monie on

I think it’s great that she’s putting in the effort to help her son. It doesn’t hurt to know what he’s learning. More than likely, they do have a tutor, maybe she just wants to be as helpful as possible.

To those saying that teachers need to do their job: it takes at least 3 people to help the student be successful. It takes the student, the teacher, and the parent(s). If one of those people is missing or not putting in the effort, it’s the student that suffers. This is coming from a middle school math teacher. Homework is for practice helps the student strengthen skills and see what they still need help with.

kewe88m on

Her sons will be teenagers soon, I wonder how would Britney deal with her son’s issues when they are between 13-29! She had a rough life when she was in her late teens and in her 20’s1

The conservatorship still blocks her to marry her new beau. It’s up to Britney’s father if he would end the conservatorship in order to marry Ebersol. So judge, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!

phil on

it should be the teachers job to make sure the kids understand how to do math–not go over it in the classroom quickly and give them 3 hours of problem solving—I don’t believe in homework period–the teacher is the one who should be teaching—NOT THE PARENTS !!!

phil on

I don’t believe in homework–it’s the teachers job to make sure kids understand and can do it–not the parents–and usually the parents have to teach the kids–what a shame

phil on

I’m sure her boys go to an exclusive private school with tuition in the 5 figures–and she has to take math classes?

andreea cristina on

@EmilyMae her dress is Rhea Costa, you can find it here

Steth on

arabrabbra. Whereever you are from, you might think you are superior but here in America, we can spell “nonsense” Not “non sense”

Caitie on

My mom is a teacher and I know right now, in our state (RI), the teachers are battling with the state because they not only have to get the kids ready for the new standardized test, but they also have to meet the common core objectives and there just is not enough time in the day for both. A lot of kids end up with tons of homework because they’ve spent the day getting prepared for these tests. And if they aren’t prepared for the tests, then the scores are poor, the school loses funding, programs are cut, and it reflects back on the teachers and the principals.

I’ve heard some other states are just as bad and it’s a damn shame that education has come down to stupid standardized tests. They don’t really teach anything (this new test seems to be more about their capabilities and proficiencies with the computer (in middle school) than the actual content) and for kids with bad test anxiety, knowing that so much rides on something you take once a year is stressful as hell.

I’ve only been out of high school for 11 years (which I get is a decade and a lot longer than it feels) but I feel like school is nothing like it used to be. And I was stressed enough without all these new shenanigans kids have to deal with.

Janie Floyd on

I really like this normalcy of doing homework with kids instead of tutors. I commend you to the highest a real down to earth Mom. Love

kaye on

Great to see some intelligent, insightful commenting from people (parents & teachers presumably) on homework. While it’s great that Britney wants to be involved, she’s paying a king’s ransom for tuition and most of the learning should be taking place in the classroom. 3 hours of homework for kids that young is just wrong.

Isabella on

I have been a fan of Britney from the beginning. I grew up with her. I love her music. After all she has been through, she has turned her life around. I am a very proud fan. I am in college right now and taking a math course, and I’m struggling! I have a tutor, so it’s great that she is taking a math course to help her boys. It’s so great that she is turning her life around!

Anonymous on

In response to Anonymous who thinks that teachers are not doing their job if their students are failing, there are all kinds of reasons for why a student may not be doing well, and many of them do not have to do with teaching in school as much as what happens outside of school.

A child who comes to school well fed, well rested, and with a good attitude to learn will likely do fine, but many children need more than what can be done in a classroom with ~28 other children, especially if they have special language or learning needs. I can understand frustration at having large amounts of homework but blaming teachers for not being accountable seems to be an unproductive way to help a child to do better.

kaye on

@Anonymous — your comment seems a bit off base in the context of this article. A multi-millionaire like Ms. Spears likely sends her kids to an elite private school which would be inaccessible to those you allude to in your post. Again, once you are in a school like this, parents have certain expectations of the teachers – and rightly so since they are paying through the nose…

Sunny on

Good for you Britney! My kids are the same ages and I’m having to brush up on my math skills as well.:)

Summer on

Unfortunately teachers have to spend most of their in-classroom time teaching to a test. The standardized testing kids are required to do now has decreased the quality of education kids are receiving. “No Child Left Behind” has turned into “Every Child Left Behind.” I’m not a teacher but have spoken to my child’s teachers over the years and they all unanimously agree that a better system needs to be implemented. Regardless, 3 hours of homework is excessive at that age. It’s so wonderful she has turned her life around. She seems like a very genuine, sweet, person.

Secun on

< Britney Spears & Megan Fox are grand parents