In one month I am going to be the proud parent of a kindergartener. I’ve already verified that I have more than one package of tissues ready in the house. I’m as ready as I can be. He, on the other hand is more than ready. He can read more than a few sight words, knows his numbers and letters, and can perform some basic addition and subtraction. His day care teaches all these Pre-K basics as part of its curriculum, including the dreaded weekly homework assignments.
These assignments are a struggle for everyone involved. My son would rather be doing anything other than writing his words for the week three times in a row. I would rather he was able to enjoy his time at home too. He writes a few of the letters backwards and gets frustrated. He gets distracted and starts doodling on the page. He winds up dragging out the assignment three times as long as it needs to be, especially if I am not hovering over him ensuring he stays focused.
I admit that I equally share his dread of homework too. I only get to see him awake for a couple of hours each night during the week. It bothers me to see him stressed during that time. But on a selfish note, it also annoys me that I am prevented from relaxing while I am forced to play warden.
However I don’t share my opinion of his homework with my son. Too much is at stake.
With Maya Angelou’s passing a number of news and media outlets have run pieces featuring some of her most inspiring quotes. One of my favorites is this, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
Homework isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and my son’s homework is only going to get more labor intensive as he gets older. Therefore since changing the practice of homework isn’t an option, if I am going to follow Maya Angelou’s advice, I am going to have to attempt to change my attitude about his homework.
My son still looks to me to provide guidance. If I let on that his homework is a pain, he is only going to reflect and magnify that opinion, making the weekly struggle to get it done that much more painful. It is already difficult enough to keep him focused on the assignment. If he drags it out any more it will take us two nights to complete rather than the one. Even worse, his attitude could then influence my younger son’s view of the task too, and my youngest is at least five hundred times more stubborn than his brother.
I am going to have to focus on how it is teaching him responsibility and how procrastination can be a really bad thing. Rather than dreading pulling out the sheets, I am going to look forward to that moment when I tell him it is all done correctly and he beams with pride. I am going to keep my mind on the prize, the sight of my son dressed in cap and gown crossing the stage.
If I do this right, with any luck he’ll mouth the words ‘thank you mom,’ as he accepts his diploma. That event combined with that little phrase will make all the stress and lost evenings worth it.