Homework Sucks.

It’s been more than a dozen years since I had to crank out a term paper at 2 a.m. or cram for a final exam or God forbid had to apply an utterly meaningless mathematical theorem to anything. But weirdly I am still haunted by homework and wake up in the middle of the night sweating that I’m about to flunk a test because I forgot to study. My number one recurring anxiety nightmare after forgetting to brush my teeth and having massive morning breath while meeting with a famous person, i.e. President Clinton, Oprah, Gandhi etc.(that’s for another post), is that I inadvertently haven’t finished all of my credits and left college without actually graduating. This nightmare may stem from actually having completed college a semester early and then waiting to graduate with my friends. But probe deeper into my chronic sleep anxiety and I’m sure any expert would just unmask loads of my insecurities, fears about failure or of being called a fraud. But now for the first time since the early 90s, my latest midnight sweat-on-the-brow homework stress, has nothing to do with me – it’s about my kids.

 

Second grade homework is a colossal bitch. There are daily journals and nightly math flashcards and 20 minutes of reading each night and spelling index cards to be sorted and backpacks full of papers to be filled, signed, stamped, processed and recycled. The paper alone makes me want to cry. Each night when I come home and rip open my son, Jonah’s, backpack to read his assignments I twitch with anxiety – please let it be easy I think to myself. I know that I should be more chill about all of this – after all – it’s Jonah’s homework, not mine. But at seven years old it doesn’t seem like he’s ready to do it alone. I also want him to get it right. The Alpha Mom in me wants to make sure he’s mastered his math facts and reads above grade level. The Slacker Mom in me just wants to uncork a good Cabernet and casually eyeball his assignments as I kick back and read a novel. I’m torn.

 

Truth be told, I’m embarrassed to admit that the unattractive Alpha Mom in me usually rears her nasal nag and gets into drill sergeant mode the moment I pull into the driveway. After quick kisses hello I’m rushing like a lunatic to get homework done, setting an egg timer to read, reviewing “sight words” and math facts. And it doesn’t stop at home. Trying to multi task, because I don’t have the time during the week to do as much reviewing as apparently I am supposed to do, I find myself randomly shouting out addition and subtraction computations as I’m driving the kids around on the weekends. “Mom, Stop!” Jonah will shriek back at me.

 

I’m blaming my sudden madness on our teachers. At back-to-school night they put so much homework pressure on us parents our heads were spinning.

 

“What do you mean by December the kids should know how to automatically add 16 plus 17 in their heads?” I asked Jonah’s teacher. “I still carry the 1 in my head. Are there new math tricks? How do we help teach them? I don’t know any tricks?”

 

“Maybe you should come back to second grade,” Jonah’s teacher responded with a smile as other parents nervously giggled. Oy.

 

lharalampus
10.20.08

Sometimes I feel that no homework should be assigned until the fourth grade at the earliest. When my kids are responsible enough to take care of a family pet, they'll be responsible enough to handle their own homework. Until then - my son and I will stay up late again tonight to finish his second grade math pages, 30 minutes of reading, and science cricket project.

caragarden
10.04.08

i want to pick a elementary school for my child based on no homework- ridiculous- but i don't want him to have the pressure- or me! on the mom end: especially after i come home from work and want to just enjoy each other

dare2dreamitall
10.02.08

Ok, the bad news, it never ends (3rd grader, K, and yes-I went back to school this semester) My only saving grace was setting up the homework station. Finally the Dining room has a use. Baskets packed crayons,pencils,paper fill the table where there was once a beautiful flower arrangement. But inevitably the day will come for you too. My daughter came home in tears because she had to "sign her card". (A form of 3rd grade public humiliation)because I forgot to put her math homework into her backpack. It was done, neatly on the homework station, but she paid the piper. I know she is old enough to do this herself, but if I have a hard time, I know she still needs my help. So for now we will create one more basket-the outbox...Our dining room is now its own Corporation.

AmyK
10.01.08

This nightly routine is why I asked my doctor for anti-anxiety medication. I can't even tell you how much I relate to this article, having a second-grade daughter myself, plus a 3-year-old daughter who consistently interrupts while I'm trying to listen to my daughter read (the list goes on). Who's doing the homework again? Top off the craziness with a husband who is usually not home on school nights and you have a perfect mix for chaos. Enjoy your chaos, ladies. You may be imbibing it for a loooonnnng time.

lbrown798
09.30.08

Yes, I can relate. My daughter's school hosts a Family Math Night so we can help them with their homework. I now find myself using the "tricks" I learned while sitting in her 3rd grade classroom in my every day life (not sure if that is funny or just sad!). Homework is always a battle in my house and unfortunately I think it only gets worse as they get older. Yikes!