" I spend more time now on homework than when I was in school!”
As my children have grown up the parenting is less physically demanding, but my contribution on the homework front has been going up and down since ‘I’ started kindy again 14 years ago! Essentially, you could say I am heading into HSC this year and starting year 7 all at the same time. Sometimes this proves to be challenging and sometimes my husband and I have to decide which one of us is best at a particular subject and sometimes...more often than not, the not-so-young kids have more insight into the subjects than we do and send us out of the room to find something else to do – suspending us from school till we learn to behave.
Each child is different, when we all first started school...hmm sorry, when my daughter first started school I must have given her the impression that she wasn’t up to doing her homework. I knew how to do it quicker and rather than sit with her and encourage her to find ways to investigate, decipher, be a detective and come up with the answers for herself, I wanted to tick the box and get on with cooking the dinner and having some ‘time for myself’.
Looking back now, what a missed opportunity to raise a confident independent explorers.
Since going back to work they have slowly built a confidence in their own ability to learn at school and do their own homework.
Here we are at the start of yet another new term and this time my older two are incredible independent learners, I offer support where necessary as a copy reader and occasional editor but only when asked. When I am asked, I am astounded at their natural flair with their subjects and their ability to bring very humane reasoning to many of their arguments. I completely underestimated them because I thought they needed me. In fact it was me that needed them...I needed them to need me and that is one of the biggest things I had to let go of in order to let them grow into the independent young adults they needed to be. I did have to consider – where else am I doing this or have I done this in their parenting?
Am I clipping their wings?
The other night we slipped back and my husband was battling over maths that had beaten me. My son, was also trying to work it out but I suspect a little amused at the fact that we couldn’t do it and so was more entertained than engaged – after all he had all our attention too!
So what is the point of this blog?...when you are tempted to do your child’s homework because it is the easiest or quickest way to move on, just ask yourself if that is really going to support them to trust their own ability to learn, remember and therefore cope with exams or is it going to set you up for years of being an undergraduate that hankers after holidays – not just for the lack of school run but also the lack of homework... From one parent who learnt the hard way it is a question worth asking.