by Another Twin Mom
What’s your take on homework? Personally, I’d love to follow the advice in this Atlantic piece (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/04/and-dont-help-your-kids-with-their-homework/358636/) and let the kids be responsible for it, only supervising to the extent needed to make sure it gets done. (Maybe when they’re older?) That was my parent’s approach.
And wow, is there a lot of homework these days. (http://www.theatlantic.com/special-report/homework-debate/).
My kids are in a “gifted and talented” track at a public school, meaning the material they’re learning is approx. one grade level above their grade. (Or at least they are supposed to be. With the new common core curriculum and how their school is implementing it, that’s up for debate. Why they’re in this track, what a horrible name it has, and how they’re doing could each be a separate topic, but back to homework.) They get 3-6 worksheets a night, plus a writing assignment due at the end of the week, a “graphic organizer” assignment where they’re suppose to analyze a fictional story, identifying plot, characters, setting, etc. There is also the occasional project, usually one per month. Last month’s project was to write about a famous woman and her achievements in 3 to 4 paragraphs and make a cover page. These projects are displayed on a bulletin board outside their classroom. Oh, and they’re supposed to read 20 minutes a night. Of course, the projects end up taking a lot of parental effort – a trip to the library or Wikipedia, choosing a subject, explaining the historical context so the student has some idea of why the person is remembered, buying the poster board (oak tag board – does anyone still call it that aside from my kids’ teachers?)
Did I mention my kids are 6 and in first grade? I certainly had no where near this amount of homework at the same age, back in the mid 70s. I was also in an “honors” track at a public school.
My kids are in an after school program in which they are supposed to work on their homework (ideally finishing it). Invariably, the reading, graphic organizer, writing assignment and any project are not done, and sometimes the worksheets are only just started. So around 6 – 6:30 when we get home, the kids work on their homework while I make dinner. One usually has it mostly done and is quick to finish the rest - except for the reading, graphic organizer, writing assignment and any project then due. The other one is the total opposite – procrastinates, whines, etc., especially when he’s tired and hungry. And who can blame him? Well, me for one. I realize the set-up is not ideal: the volume of work, time of day, hunger and so on. And yet, the same thing happens over the weekend when the set-up is better – lots of procrastinating, whining, etc. He makes little to no effort unless my husband or I are sitting next to him helping with every page. Same with the other if it involves writing. Gets on my last nerve. I used to think I was a patient person until I had kids.
So fellow Totebaggers, any advice? Care to commiserate? Am I just whining?
How do I motivate my kids to put in the effort? How do I learn to be more patient? Have you ever considered letting (or done ahead and allowed) your kids to just not do it all?