Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the agony of homework

Oh the agony of homework! Pook had homework starting the first day of school. I looked at it and it seemed trivial; a few worksheets with 4-10 questions each, 20 spelling words to write 3x. I figured each task might take him 5-10 minutes. I set him up and went about my business. An hour later, he was still sitting at the table (or half on a chair and half on the floor, or partway upside down, or standing with one knee leaning on the table, or...) and the work was barely started.

I sat with him and tried to help him focus. He is so, so very distracted. He stares right through the teacher's paper. His eyes aren't focused on anything. He doesn't "get" it. I read the homework "Draw a conclusion based on the paragraph above" and repeat it to him. "Oh." He should understand, but his brain is not home. Another page which has a request to think and give opinion is beyond him and he falls on the floor in tears.

Bug keeps refusing to read to me. I cannot sign next to Read Aloud until he does. He's still practicing piano, so I could be doing worse. But written homework for him will start after Labor Day, and we aren't even getting the current work done yet. "You can't make me!" He falls off the sofa during his teary shouts.

No, I don't want to make them do homework, but they do have an agreement with their teachers to do what she asks. I'm here to help them focus and to explain problems. I won't give Pook answers to thinking questions. I try different plans of attack. Bug used to play school and want to be big. Now he's in school.

I'm a teacher. And I at least I thought I was an effective teacher. So why have both my children been in tears over homework? Is it just an adjustment coming off from summer? Is it really too much? Too hard? Too something else? I know they're exhausted. The babysitter, who came while we were at the school meeting his teacher, did not put them to bed when I asked. Instead of an early bedtime, they both stayed up later than usual. (If this happens again Thursday when she returns for the upper grade Meet the Teacher night she'll be history. I hope it goes better because she lives next door and I really want to like her.)

I remember fourth grade being a big deal because that was the year you started getting homework. Bug, in Pre-K was asked to cut out pictures starting with the letter of the week. He did it several times near the start of school and then I gave up the fight and he never did it again. I've been warned. We're in for a ride.

1 comment:

  1. We have this problem too, or, at least, we did last year. We've been trying to work on study skills over the summer. I feel like if AJ's more independent, then he'll do better. Right now he doesn't want to take any responsibility for anything. The best I've come up with so far is routine. s until homework is done. Period.