Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Homework and headaches

I grew up in a time and place where parents were either not home, out working, or did not speak English well enough to help us with our homework.  Yet the expectation was that it got done and that you got good grades, for many of us there was no discussion on "if" college it was that "when" you finished high school you went to college and if not you found yourself a job.   They did not have the cultural knowledge, the financial means often to do college visits and the like ... we did these things with the help of one another and a guidance counselor.  That was life in an immigrant neighborhood for most of us and you know what we learned really early on how to navigate school, the consequences of not doing well in school and how to get ourselves on track for post high school.  We did that because we had to.

Now my own kids and their friends have to navigate pretty much nothing because we as parents set up social things, school things, activity things.  These kids from a young age have a Hollywood star worthy personal assistant system.  This is not all bad but it is in some ways.

Throw in homework and there are nights when my head spins.   My kids do their homework, reluctantly, and seem to rely on reminders.  My older 11 year old son  - well with him I decided that I was going to teach him responsibility (ulcer and twitching eye be damned).  I am not going to check the correctness of his homework, I am not going to spend time correcting said homework with him, I will not erase the sloppy writing ... no I am going to do what my parents and those of my friends did.  I am going to set the expectation and only if he asks for help will I help him -- his progress reports will reflect if he is asking for help or doing poorly and we will have rewards and consequences if he did not ask for help and the grade reflects a lack of doing it or understanding.  That is my theory .. now my reality is (eye twitch at full blast) it is KILLING me because his writing is sloppy, what don't you take pride in what you hand in? is what is going through my mind, he rushes through writing and it lacks description (you know the hour + long description that I can get on any one YouTube video). So far his grades are good but there are a few where, see kiddies with great power comes great responsibility  - my parents had no computer parent portal to see a daily recap of my assignments and grades, they just had the quarterly report card where things could be mended to be good - so when I see INCOMPLETE on a homework then commence annoyance.

My younger son may be loving a book but if he is timed reading well we could not risk the wrath and potential for lightning strike of a higher being if say he reads 5 - 10 min longer than is required.   He still gets the erase your sloppy work and I see his snarky look .. I just don't care.

I get it and before all of you holier than thouers speak up - I did my homework with the tv on but I was that annoying kid who learned in class and absorbed in a way so that it did not need extra studying .. this led to a lot of A-s and B+s that could have been A+s but hell I was not going to you know possibly miss a social interaction to do the dreaded study.  Then I got to college and holy shit was I unprepared ... cause you need to study there.  I got it, I suffered,  I learned to study.  I know homework is not fun but isn't that part of the lesson for these kids 1) do something because it is required 2) take pride in doing something at your best 3) ask for help.

How will they navigate life if they do not learn to be self sufficient and know how to get assistance if we fix the homework or even worse in my humble opinion try the friend route here with them "Oh yes homework sucks let me see if I can get it reduced -- complain about how unfair it is --- the system and the man are out to get us".  You can be all about those things but for my kid that is not the point, special needs kids are a different story and I applaud you doing all those things to make sure your kids reach their potential.  Lazy habits are not a disability -- they are a result of what has been called helicopter parenting ... we take care of it.

I am working and learning to live with eye twitch, no guy on train am not winking at you, and hoping that as a parent I am doing the right thing by trying to make them more responsible in this thing called growing up.

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