My parents lied to me about homework and they did it more than once. They told me that once I graduated from school I would never have to do it again.
Sorry mom and dad, don’t mean to air this dirty laundry in public but I just can’t help it.
You didn’t tell me that when I became a parent I would find myself doing homework again. Only this time around it is not mine, it belongs to my children.
I suppose that I ought to clarify something. I am not doing the homework. My kids are the ones who are doing the actual work, but that doesn’t mean that I am not called upon to help.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t sit down at the kitchen table and pull out a math book and curse new math the same way my father did a quarter of a century ago. It doesn’t mean that I don’t spend time reading over essays to try and help catch spelling mistakes or factual errors.
Nor should you take this to mean that I don’t want to help my children or that I don’t enjoy it. Truth is that most of the time I do like sitting down to go over things with them, but that is just most of the time.
Sometimes I Grit My Teeth
Because some of the time I grit my teeth and roll my eyes because I can’t figure out if the teachers have given an assignment that makes sense. I am not a fan of teaching kids how to regurgitate facts and numbers.
I want them to understand what they are reading and why. I want them to learn how to think. I want them to use logic and reason- sometimes homework seems to skip over these things and it frustrates me.
Don’t get me wrong I am the first to say that teachers are underpaid and that I question forcing teachers to teach our children how to pass government mandated tests.
I know that teachers work hard but I would be remiss if I didn’t question what happens in the classroom and why. I spent enough years as a student and as a parent to know there will be a mix of great teachers and others who are…not so great.
That is a part of why I pay attention to what sort of assignments are being given to my children. I want to see if it is linked to what they learned in the classroom and can be viewed as complementary or is it just busy work.
Busy work makes me crazy in large part because I smile when I tell the kids to do their homework and that smile sometimes hide the questions I hold about the value of the work.
Most of the time I feel pretty good about what I see but every now and then I begin to wonder.
I’d share more with you but break time is over. I have to go round up the children and help see that they finish up the few remaining pieces of homework that was assigned for this weekend.
P.S. that laughter you hear now is coming from my parents who are probably giggling about payback or some such thing. It is ok, you deserve it.