The folks at Family Fun magazine posed the following question on Facebook yesterday:
How do you help your kids stay on top of their homework?
Answer: It depends.
In the fall, my kids want to start the school year off right, so homework (especially at the elementary-school level) gets done fairly quickly. Add in the fact that the days are getting shorter and cooler, and a few reminders to “get ‘er done” suffice.
In the winter, we’re well past the novelty of school. But with the holidays and lots of fun activities on the schedule, they know they have to complete their homework as soon as they can. Once again, Mother Nature helps with pitch black skies and freezing cold temperatures by 6 p.m. Staying inside — and by extension, finishing their work — seems the most logical choice.
But in the spring? Oy. Everything, and I mean everything, is working against getting homework done. They’re tired of school. They’re looking forward to summer. It’s finally warm outside. It’s light both earlier in the morning and later into each evening. Add to all that the sports, concerts, field trips and fun days, and you’ve got a recipe for homework burn-out.
I can’t blame them. It’s not like I want to stay inside and work either. What to do?
For the most part, my kids trudge along the homework path. They’ve taken to finishing it on the bus — an ingenious use of their time, although their handwriting is so squiggly and unreadable from the bumpy bus ride that they’ve gotten warnings about it. So far (knock wood), they enjoy reading, so we don’t have to sweat that part of the daily assignments. They’re always looking for new ways to get their homework done as fast and painlessly as possible.
Yesterday, my daughter E had one of those assignments that students and their parents are supposed to work on together. She had to read a story and then I was to monitor her answers to questions on a handout. And of course, I have to sign it to verify my participation. Of course.
E detests these assignments because they make her feel like a kindergartener. She complains that she knows how to read, knows the answers and can write them all by herself; why does she need me to sign off on her sheet?
I have no answer for her.
There we sat with the much-despised homework, when she suddenly began to read the story with a random, over-the-top British accent. The more she hammed it up, the more she gestured. The more she gestured, the more she giggled.
Pretty soon she settled on a fabulous Maggie-Smith-meets-Julia-Child voice in which she intoned her answers to the silly, silly questions. One more reason why I love this girl.
So the short answer to the Family Fun question of how do we get homework done?
Anyway we can. Even if it includes a wacky accent.