The new school year is well underway which means that I’m back to doing homework. As my children get older and move up into higher classes, it means that my course load increases. I’m all for being an involved parent, but sometimes it feels as if I’m back in school again.
Maybe your parents were different, but I don’t ever remember my mother having to pay quite this much attention to me when I was in school. Now, we have to ascertain whether our children did all their homework, make sure that they finish their projects on time, remind them to study, help them to study, print off past papers, make up test papers, look over their work, ask them where they’re going with that answer – and a myriad of other things.
I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t have the ton of distractions that our kids now have, but going to school used to mean that you paid attention when you were there so that when you came home you could actually do your homework by yourself. If you were lucky enough to have an older sibling, you could ask for assistance if something didn’t stick or (as I once did) call a classmate’s sister when the several thousand explanations my own sister gave me didn’t seem to help.
Of course, part of the reason for the increased attention is because children today are getting more homework than we ever came home with. Having been out of school for quite a while before I went back after having children I don’t know when the change happened. You know, that change which seems to require that our children make up for lost time because the race to the finish has already begun?
There are times when I wonder if my memory is beginning to fail me. How is it that I don’t remember my son dealing with a particular topic that his sister is coming home with even though he went through that very same class? At the very same school? I make sure to keep the text books my son uses in order to pass them on to his sister, but it seems that a word here and there isn’t the only change they’re making in the newer editions.
Most schools require that you sign your children’s homework as a way of ensuring that you actually see how your child is doing. And if you’re loath to sign off on something without bothering to read it, (especially if you think it might be seen as a personal reflection), well that means that you’re going to have to take more than a cursory glance at it which means that – you’re all up in the homework.
So when I came across an article about a parent’s role in homework which gave some tips on how to “stay involved, without taking over”, I was looking forward to the information – until it said something about parents keeping their opinions to a minimum and respecting the child’s decision if she chooses not to share. Now given the griping I’ve been doing, you’d probably wonder why my mouth was hanging open. Not share? Not after I “directly” asked her a question?
To be fair, the writer did talk about teaching the child responsibility and that certain consequences will ensue from certain actions, but she lost me when she warned that parents should not force the issue when trying to create healthy study habits because that might jeopardize the relationship we have with our children. Which relationship? The one where the child recognizes the person in authority and acts accordingly?
I’ve heard that children learn differently, but I didn’t realize they did homework differently too. I’ll spare you what the writer says we should give consideration to, but the long and short is that some kids dig right in after coming home and then there are the ones who don’t get to it right away. I might have been one of the latter, but it wasn’t because my mother allowed me to engage in some “physical activity” to allow my “brain to relax”. And she wouldn’t have allowed me some computer or TV time in order to go “inside” myself to “re-energize and re-focus” either.
That’s called wasting time, see – and I don’t know about you, but I have homework to do.