Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Homework and Sanity Don't Go Together!

Homework is one of the major trials and tribulations that every parent must go though (or at least it is a trial and tribulation around my house)......A typical homework session involves much grinding of teeth (mine), coercion (mine), endless supply of patience (mine) and getting to bed late (my kids) and homework is only fully completed 80 to 90 percent of the time. 

I am not sure where I went wrong as a parent, but 98.9% of the time I dread having to do homework with my two girls, both usually need my undivided attention and assistance (even if they don't need my help, they still want me in close proximity, just in case) and at some point we usually have pouting and/or the bursts of "You just don't understand anything!"  Yes I do understand most of their homework, with the exception of the "new age math" (I have a college degree after all), but I don't understand why the sitting down and actually doing the homework is a problem! The way they teach math these days is beyond me.....I had one teacher explain it to me like this:

  • ME: The math problems she brought home look like long division, so I taught her how to do long division to get the answer.
  • TEACHER: Yes, it is long division, it's just that some of our kids are not quite ready for that yet so we teach it this way until they can catch up and understand the concept.
  • ME: So my teaching her to do these problems using long division is not a problem then?
  • TEACHER: Sure she can do it that way, we will eventually be learning that once I feel all of the kids are ready.
Here is what I was actually thinking the whole time this conversation was taking place.....
So we teach a method of math that is much more convoluted to learn a math standard of long division and we teach it to all the kids in the class because there are a few who aren't ready to learn it the standard way?  Really?  So isn't this why there are tutors or parents, so they can help these "struggling" kids, why does the rest of class have to learn at the level of the kids who are struggling.....using this analogy ESL kids would determine at what level Grammar and English is taught in our schools.  Or how about this scenario while you are out in the work place:
  • BOSS to EMPLOYEE:  You really need to slow down while doing your work, we have a few people here who just can't do the same standard and level of work that you do, so we need to you tone it down because you are making the rest of the employees look bad!
Really, in what fantasy world do you think that might happen????

Sorry for the side rant, back to the homework issue....
My girls have a 4.5 year age span, so homework levels are quite different.  My youngest one doesn't need as much help, but she has some ADD tenancies, so her staying on track is really really hard and my oldest is very literal, she wants to know the "why" and all the details of the "what" is expected before she attempts anything.  I am a different personality than either of them, I do like to put some things off that are distasteful, but my theory is do the best that you can to get it done and over with and if it is wrong at least you tried and can fix it later. With these three personality types you can get a glimpse of why the homework challenge.

Oh and before you ask, Daddy usually only helps in dire emergencies, he has a patience level of about 4 on a scale of 1 -10 and my patience level is usually around a 9, so I get the short stick.

Does anyone have any tips, tricks, motivational aids or stories that have worked to help you through homework sessions, even if you are perfect and don't have problems during homework time, I want to know what you are doing to make it work, please share!  Inquiring minds and Mamas across the world want to know how you make it work, Lord knows I don't have a clue!

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