I want to like you. I really want to like you.
The first time my daughter brought you home, I was crazy excited. I remember hastily scanning through you to see what fun projects we’d work on together.
I foolishly pictured my six-year-old and me sitting at the dinner table happily working through spelling words, maybe a little addition and subtraction, and a science project or two – you know the drill.
How naïve I was.
Your fortnightly homework grid is the bane of my existence.
I don’t know who detests you more – my six-year-old or me. Getting you done is like pulling teeth. Painful and slow. There’s whining, sighing, huffing and puffing, tears and frustration.
We had virtually no homework in Prep. Ahh, sweet Prep. How I miss thee. Our afternoons were free to do whatever we liked. You let kids be kids.
It’s been a massive jump from Prep to Grade 1 and everyone involved (except the four-year-old who happily teases her sister with, ‘I don’t have no homework’) is reeling. Talk about cranking up the stress-o-metre.
We may have two weeks to do you in, but two weeks goes pretty darn fast. When my six-year-old is hot, tired and cranky after a long day at school, when do you suggest we do you?
We can’t do you straight after school. That’s a bit mean, isn’t it? The child has been at school all day, she needs a break. If you give her a break though the momentum for learning is quickly lost. She wants to play Lego. She doesn’t want to practice her Even Steven and Odd Todd numbers, you know what I’m saying?
The thing is that my time is valuable and my kid’s time is valuable. We get home from school at 3.15pm, have dinner at 6pm, and she is in bed by 7.30 pm. That doesn’t leave us lot of time, especially if I have things like dinner to make, bills to pay, washing to be done etc. It’s not just the six-year-old that needs to do the homework. I have to be there to help her. She can’t even read the homework tasks yet!
Once we finally make a start on you, the frustration and sighing continues. Miss Six is a perfectionist and every tiny mistake she makes hurts her. She’s hard on herself and I hate seeing that.
You’re causing us a lot of angst in our usually happy household, homework, and it just ain’t cool.
My six-year-old needs balance. She needs time to play. I want her to be able to wind down after a massive day. How about we teach her fun things she doesn’t learn in the classroom like riding a bike, exploring the backyard, or putting on a dancing performance with her sister? She’s learning with that too. Those activities are expanding her horizons. She needs down time to be quiet, play, read and imagine.
I know some parents (and teachers) will disagree with me. They might think I’m lazy or I don’t care. I welcome their advice on getting through our fortnightly homework grid with sunshine and lollipops. I also welcome them to sit with my child and see how they cope with the tears and resistance.
I’m your average rule-abiding citizen. I always do what I’m told and never cause any trouble. I’ll continue to battle through, but I won’t enjoy it.
Like I said, I want to like you. I really do. I know your value. I want my kid to learn and succeed, but could you just ease up a little for another year or so? Why, so intense?
I only have one kid with homework, for Christ’s sake. Can you imagine how much I’d carry on if I had two, three, or four?! How’s the homework vibe in your household?
Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.