Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Homework Horrors

I honestly believe my daughter's third grade teacher gives reasonable homework. She often 'schedules' (makes the children write down in their planners) 'study' or assign specific pages for them to 'review'.  I think this is an excellent step toward developing study skills and keeps parents connected to classroom content. But my daughter can't see the benefit.

We had to do a reading log, a science worksheet (which wasn't finished earlier) and study for spelling and math. The whole idea of "doing it again" was so frustrating to her that she was yelling and crying her eyes out over my asking her to look over the math problems. I had already pared it down to an oral review, point at the answer, etc.

Now, in comparison, my son also disliked homework at her age but somehow he intrinsically knew it was important and had to be done. Was he super fast? No, he avoided, daydreamed and sometimes postponed starting, but NOT to the point of choking and hiccups.

After (I am NOT kidding you) three hours of this hot mess, she was finally sent to bed. My son and I discussed it. He thinks she was just lying or playing around. He's older so he likes to chime in his opinion on parenting issues. I suggested to him that maybe true, but somehow his Sissy just...doesn't believe homework is important. She honestly thinks it will go away... if she just clicks her heels three times or something like that.
I think it's linked to her poor academic performance for the past two years. She frequently calls herself dumb or stupid. Yes, she struggles. Yes, she's been placed into and will soon graduate from a reading program. It's a vicious cycle: don't do the homework, struggle, feel anger, don't do the homework, struggle, it's a ridiculous cycle. But funnily enough she doesn't have the wisdom (surprise! she's a child) to see that it's within her control. 

I only hope and pray I don't lose my will to help before I finally can get her to see that she can be successful. It's this weird thing called "practice" and "trying it out". She's not alone. I teach middle school and I see so many children who just won't try something because of a fear of failure. They opt to do poorly because it's likely a habit they've fallen into rather than a true picture of their abilities.

It can be very stressful to be helpful, hopeful and not lose my temper when I am literally arguing with an eight year old. Who's being stupid then? Me.
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