homework habits

My first born kid was just easy. Easy to read, easy to get along with, easy to please. As he entered school, his personality stayed the same. He understood certain things were expected of him. Things like classwork and homework and putting away his toys. He was very independent and only had minor instances where he needed our help. He spoiled the sh*t out of us.

Now my life is very different. My middle son is a wonderful person. A loyal friend, a talented artist, and a fabulous storyteller, he has many traits that will add up to a very successful life. But when it comes to homework, each week is a power struggle to just get him to sit down and attempt it.

Nothing works. Not simple discussions about the subjects in front of him, not bargaining, not begging, not bribery, and especially not threats. Just thinking about the start of the week and the impending assignments that will come with it have me twitching as I write this. Because I know the battles that will follow over basic mathematics. I realize the war I’m about to enter over reading comprehension questions. The fights will be endless, and I will be exhausted by the time he completes his work.

And he’s only in first grade.

That is the fact that scares the crap out of me the most. This ain’t my first rodeo. The homework only becomes harder, increasing in complexity, length, and frequency. The need to plan ahead and adhere to a schedule is imperative to get it all done. And we can barely handle what is happening now.

The craziest part is that my middle child actually likes to be challenged and stimulated—as long as the task at hand isn’t connected to timelines and assignments. If he gets to choose the work himself, he’s very committed to seeing it through. But homework doesn’t work that way, and I’m starting to see an alarming pattern here that does not bode well for either of us in the long term.

For now, I’m going to try to make the assignments as easy as possible for all of us by just putting them out there and letting him get to them at his own pace. From there, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Photo: Getty