Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homework hell

We've read to the kids since birth ...

“I know the answers, it’s just that my brain can’t find them,” said Chase the other day as we were trying to get through his homework.
Probably a pretty good description actually.
Homework time is one of my least favourite times of the day.
I know good mothers should love doing homework with their kids, but most nights I would rather pull my own teeth out than take on Chase’s ‘bonus learning’!
You see, Chase has had loads of problems learning to read and write. We’ve gone down the occupational therapy road and had some success with that, and he’s getting fantastic support at school.
And having interviewed fabulous Australian author Mem Fox while pregnant, I know that reading to your child is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.
So we’ve done that, religiously, since birth.
It never occurred to me that one of kids would have problems with reading and writing.
I write – and read – for a living. By osmosis – and older brothers and sister – I could read before I started school, and was always ahead of my peers in English and spelling.
So helping Chase has been a real eye-opener. I’m not a teacher, so I was stumped when it came to transferring my knowledge to Chase at home. Luckily, I’ve been given loads of advice and tips from Chase’s teachers, and I’m getting better at it.
But when it comes to learning sight words, writing sentences, and reading, homework time is still, well, like pulling my own teeth out.
Chase scratches, farts, takes toilet breaks, remembers he’s still hungry, realises he’s also terribly thirsty, and tries anything he can think of to prolong the agony.
Sometimes his sister sits beside us, doing her ‘homework’ (drawing and colouring), but she’s started recited random letters of the alphabet while he’s struggling with his spelling.
“ARSE” she’ll spell, as Chase is attempting to spell “broomstick”.
Next minute, he’s called her a Poo Head, she’s called him a Bum Bum, and they’re trying to kill each other.
I’ve found a way to relieve the pain though. After homework time, it’s bedtime for the kids. And wine time for me!


krissy said...

I cringe at homework too. I love summertime even though that means no "alone" time for me. But the thought of homework is sickening. I didn't do it when I was in school, so why the heck do I have to do it now? I whine that all the time.

I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you as a mother struggling with a child. But the truth is, I think homework takes away from family time and just being a kid. Especially when there is at least 1hr of it for a 3rd grader. Ridiculous.

But I don't tell my daughter that!

Bronnie said...

Finally! A mother who feels my pain. I think homework should include things like: help Mum and Dad with the dishes, go for a walk, help cook dinner, visit a relative or neighbour after school. Far more conducive to a happy family life. Bron

Tara R. said...

Homework time with my son has been an ordeal from day one (he is just finishing his freshman year in High School). Sounds like you are having much more help from your son's teachers than we do.(He was some learning problems too) He easily has 3-4 hours of homework each night. What exactly do they DO at school during the day that they have so much in the evening? I HATE homework and it's not even mine to do.

Bronnie said...

Tara, we actually changed schools midway through our son's first year. Not just because of homework - that's a whole other story. But homework there was insane - he was in first grade! One weekend, we were told on the Friday, they had a science project due on the Monday. It was the Mother's Day weekend here, which is also my husband's birthday. I'm still fuming about that one. We would have let it go, but I didn't want him to be the only child not to have his science project done. Ridiculous.
We changed schools for loads of reasons, and homework is still a problem, but yes, at least the school now supports us. Also, they give homework on the Monday - so you can pick and choose how much you do per day. So if your child is having a good day, you can knock off most of it in one day.
I agree though - we never had to do homework at such a young age, and I really resent it for impacting on our family life. Surely, the academic stuff should be taken care of at school, and life skills at home?