“I hate homework,” my second-grader declares as I call him into the dining room to begin our Monday afternoon ritual.
And honestly, I hate homework too. I find the afternoon very frustrating. In fact, I will be thinking about how much I despise doing homework as my daughter spends twenty minutes drawing cows and chickens for a simple kindergarten math question.
Every Monday, homework comes out. Each child must choose three homework “squares” to complete. Kindergarten gets nine topics to choose from, and second grade gets six. Each grade has a certain “square” that is required.
In the beginning, kindergarten homework took maybe 15 minutes. But now they have to do a simple book review each week. This involves writing the title, author, and illustrator. (Don’t even get me started on how long it takes my daughter to copy those words and names and how many times I have to correct her letters and spacing.) They then have to write a sentence or two and draw a picture. Yes, simple but not quick.
The other homework squares for kindergarten are usually easy – spend 15 minutes on a website, draw a picture, search for shapes in your house, write sentences with their “popcorn” words and simple tasks like that. Most of them should take perhaps five minutes each – unless you are Lexie, who wants to draw detailed cows for the math problem.
On this day, her homework took an hour. This would be okay if she were my only child. But I also have Jase to help. He is in second grade and is not at the point where I can have him do his homework without some guidance.
His first task is the required math “square.” It states he should be able to do these thirty subtraction problems with a goal of having them done in two minutes. We set the timer. Eight minutes later, he is half way through. After fifteen, he is only two-thirds done. Now I know Jase doesn’t do well under pressure. The timer is not his friend. I am already short-tempered after dealing with Lexie and her slow cow drawing episode. It was pure frustration talking, but I announced to Jase that he would be redoing this test the next day and perhaps the next until he can do this better.
Of course, later I felt bad for adding to his stress of math homework. I know I have thirty years more experience doing math than he does. But he does seem to be slow when it comes to basic math. (Don’t even get me started on the stupid COMMON CORE math they do nowadays where you do 18 steps to answer a basic three-digit addition problem.)
I discussed my frustration with homework with my husband. He pointed out that I have a set expectation (it should only take X minutes to do homework), and I am frustrated when that expectation isn’t met. He of course is right. I have tried to lower my expectation, but that hasn’t helped. I guess I am going to have to realize that we can no longer get homework for the week all done in one day. I loved being able to get it done on Monday and then only doing Jase’s reading homework on the other days.
The only way for all of us to stop hating homework is to take some of the stress and frustration away. I need a better attitude. I don’t need to take my frustration out on the kids and have them even more stressed and worried about doing their homework. Oh, and I think I need to talk with Lexie about timeliness. Just because you can take twenty minutes to draw cows, doesn’t mean you should. Actually, not staying on task or finishing in a timely manner have been the two most common complaints her teacher has about her. (Another one would be not listening. I feel for her teacher here and completely understand. Lexie does a lot of “selective” listening.)
I began this post in March right before I began the A to Z challenge for April. Since then, homework has gotten a little better and less stressful. None of us still enjoy doing it, but I am looking forward to next year where I help Jase less and perhaps Lexie too.