The Homework Battle

School is back in session, so I generally come home to Mel walking between Tristan (5th grade) and Norah (3rd grade), homework on the table, Aspen (age 3) coloring a picture.

My kids are always a little frustrated with the fact that mom, in fact, expects them to do their homework. She moves from one problem to the next, helping with basic math on one side of the table, and basic sentences on the other, both kids scratching their heads, complaining from time to time.

I drop my bag, take a seat next to one of the kids, and start helping with problems.

Sometimes Mel and I get frustrated, and sometimes the kids do too. Mel works part time at our kids school, so it’s pretty hard for them to lie to her about homework, although, like all kids, they often do say the classic, “I don’t have any homework,” and Mel immediately calls them on it.

I will be the first to admit, I dislike homework time. A lot. Mel does too. And I know my kids hate it. I also know there is a lot of discussion right now about assigning grade school children homework.

But here’s the thing, I worked in higher education for 8 years. We’ve been talking about grit and success for years in education, but a lot of students coming into college don’t understand that real learning takes work.

I don’t want that for my children. I want them to know how to work. I want them to know how to knuckle down and focus. I want them to know how to struggle with a problem. I want them to know that so little of academic success has to do with intelligence, but rather hard work. And most importantly, I want them to fully understand that learning doesn’t end when the class bell rings. It ends with mastering a concept. And to do that, I want my children to do homework.

So each night, we attack those problems as a family. And once it’s all said and done, everyone, parents and children, breath a sigh of relief.

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