Back-to-school means we’re back to lots of other things too… early mornings, hurried breakfasts, packed lunches, before-school activities, after-school activities, clubs, fundraisers, meetings, practices, rushed dinners and… homework (Hear in your mind this said much the same way Seinfeld would utter “Newman.”)
Of all these demands contending for our time, it is the homework I hate the most. Homework (like acne) is something I mistakenly thought I had left far behind. Boy was I wrong.
The kids have been back to school for three weeks (only two of which have involved homework) and last night was the first (of what I anticipate to be many) where my son couldn’t stay focused, my daughter was in tears over math and I struggled to remain calm while bouncing back and forth between the two of them and attempting to prepare dinner.
I just shot off an email to my son’s third grade teacher forewarning her that I am going to set a time limit for tonight’s homework and that it will be brought in “as-is” tomorrow. (Man, I hope it’s finished!) He hates having a time constraint imposed upon him, but it’s just plain torture watching him take an hour and a half to finish 30 minutes of homework. No matter what I say, I can’t seem to make him understand that once homework is done, his time is his own – he’s free from school for the rest of the day.
My sixth grade daughter is fast and focused with homework. Only one thing derails her: math. Sometimes she “gets it” and sometimes she doesn’t. And when she doesn’t, it’s not long before tears are spilling down her freckled cheeks.
Math is not my strong suit either, but fortunately I was able to help her calculate the circumference of a circle last night. (You remember C=2πr and C=πd, right?) Thankfully the method of teaching that hasn’t changed much, but there have been plenty of times when the way I learned something in school is completely different from the way it’s taught presently. This only adds to the confusion. It’s like we’re speaking different languages. On those nights we both feel like crying.
Add to this the fact that my 8-year old son (like my husband) is a math whiz and has memorized the multiplication table. So while my daughter is trying to remember what 7×4 is, my son snarkily gives her the answer, which is great for an 11-year old’s self-esteem. (Wait, isn’t he supposed to be focusing on his homework?)
Now, could someone please calculate how many more days we have until summer vacation?
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.