“Not much is really worth your tears” I thought. I hated seeing my daughter get stressed out over something as simple as homework. Maybe I should re-think that. Homework these days isn’t like the homework we had as kids, it’s not that simple anymore. When it comes to helping with homework I don’t know who is really getting more frustrated, her or me. Sure she might need a little help with some of the questions, but I have learned that Google is my best friend and that I am far too long out of the homework world. It’s amazing how little of my homework I retained into my adult life! I can remember teachers always telling me I would need to know these math equations well until the day that I die, and thinking but I would never need to know them. I guess they were right, because I need to know them now!
More and more of my peers have assured me that I am correct. What doesn’t seem to amount to much more than busywork, is what is now reducing my daughter to tears around our kitchen table and there is a very thin line I have to walk here. Of course I want her to know responsibility, hard work and dedication, but it is hard for me to tell her she is wrong about calling her homework pointless when I wholeheartedly agree most of the time. I see the cycle pretty clearly and it is a hard one to break. She sits down for her homework and then hits a road bump. She gets frustrated, then I get frustrated at her frustration, and we have a big frustrated mess that ends up in both of us wanting to throw the homework out the window and go play outside instead.
What I have to constantly remind myself is that no homework has its place and though school is important, it isn’t everything. Taking a break to play, skipping a problem, or just calling it quits for the night isn’t the end of the world. Not only is that the case, but it can be the beginning of an entirely new outlook regarding school. Of course we would like our child to succeed but placing pressure for them to do everything perfectly is certainly an unfair expectation that we cannot even reach ourselves.
It’s not the first time I have said this to myself, and I certainly need the reminder to be a little bit easier on my daughter and to be a little bit easier on myself as well. We get so wrapped up in the cycle of things that we can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s important to accept our children as they are and really take into account how hard they can be working. After all, they spend all day at school and then sometimes come home and do homework until bedtime, with little to no decompression in between. This seems like a ridiculous and unfair cycle and should be broken with hugs, laughter and playtime.
Certainly there is no way for me to abolish homework, but my daughter and I are going to have to find a more compatible and creative way to get it done that doesn’t involve frustration and tears on our kitchen table. Too bad I can’t enroll back in school, then maybe I would have a better chance in helping her understand her work. Fortunately, even by the time I finished writing this she is in her own groove and whizzes through her homework now, but then a school year will end and we will be on to new concepts that I don’t even know how to begin explaining! In the meantime it’s important that she does the best that she can, all the while giving an appropriate amount of effort. That appropriate amount of effort also entails knowing when to pack it up, and go outside to play.
Do you have any tips for making homework time easier?!