Back to school, back to uniform and routine. Back to sitting at the kitchen table for hour after painful hour getting the homework done. There is likely to be begging, cajoling, patient explanations, stern instructions, negotiation, tears and pleading.
That was the scene here for many, many school nights.
One evening, exasperated by long division – or whatever they call it these days – a Boy and I were to be found sitting in middle of 100 socks (mostly odd) laid neatly into sets of 10. It was a heroic attempt but it didn’t take the child any closer to understanding.
Then I had an epiphany.
Any actual, trained, professional teachers had best stop reading now.
No longer were evenings going to be loomed over by the towering misery of the home work. The Boys weren’t the only ones getting an education, here’s what I had learned about homework.
- Teachers are the best at teaching – leave it to them. They spent considerable time and energy perfecting excellent educational techniques. Rather than frustrating you and your child with ham-fisted and out-dated explanations, send a note to school asking them to do it the next day.
- If it takes more than 20 minutes, stop. Time is precious, do something more fun.
- If it makes anyone cry, stop. Just don’t let the kids know this one, especially if they’re baby crocodiles.
- Quality isn’t the point. It’s not your job to mark their work or make them do it again. Only help if they ask. Otherwise accept sub-standard scribbles without comment.
- The teacher couldn’t care less whether you can punctuate or conjugate. Don’t compete.
- It’s not really about learning, it’s about parental engagement. Therefore, engage, go through the motions, sign the jotter and get in with the rest of your evening.
- Missing a night isn’t the end of the world,so relax.