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Nightly homework hassles v one big lump of torture

Submitted by on Thursday, 12 March 2009 No Comment

Six and a half months into kindergarten, it turns out that I’ve had Big Guy on the wrong approach to homework the whole time.

That’s what Best Buddy says, and if Best Buddy says it must be true. If Best Buddy started showing up at school with purple polka dots on his face, Big Guy would want to run out and buy matching paint. Luckily, Big Guy’s picks for hero worship always have been good kids, so at least the peer pressure is positive.

Tuesday as I picked Big Guy up at school, he wanted to go to the park. “We can’t do that today,” I said, running through the list of things we had to do instead. It included homework.

“You have to do homework?” Best Buddy gasped. “I did all of mine last night.”

Big Guy looked at me accusingly. “Why can’t I do all of mine at once?” he asked.

Because I’d rather gargle glass than be in the kitchen while you growl through four worksheets, I thought.

Because there are different ways to do homework, and I think this one works best for us, I said.

At the beginning of the school year, the teacher stressed spreading the weekly worksheets out over four nights so the concepts were reinforced consistently. It’s an instruction some parents ignore, and I’ve heard many brag that their kindergarteners were so smart that they could do it all in one night.

On the other hand, most weeks the worksheets are fairly mindless even for a 5-year-old and could be completed in one night. So why not do it that way, other than my desire to get Big Guy oriented now to the nightly homework that will come later.

Which raises a third hand – yes, a parent must be an octopus – when I start wondering if I should wait to worry about nightly discipline when that time comes and let him enjoy his every-dwindling childhood while he can.

But in addition to the worksheets, there is supposed to be nightly writing and sight-word practice. I’m not getting how to smoosh that all into Monday, and I wouldn’t even want to try.

I suppose the approach all depends on the child and whether he completes homework cheerfully or whether she flings pencils the entire time. A lengthy session of cheerful homework wouldn’t be so bad. A lengthy bout of pencil-flinging would make me want to poke the pencil in my eyeball.

Still, a compromise might be possible. We could continue the nightly writing practice, but Big Guy could do the worksheets all on one night as part of his continuing efforts to emulate Best Buddy.

I could live with a little emulation, unless Best Buddy does show up with purple polka dots some day. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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