Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homework Woes

My son came home from school today saying he had "a lot" of homework to do. Typically J's definition of "a lot" of homework means more than just 20 minutes of reading. Tonight, however, he really wasn't kidding. He had a lot of homework. Here's the kicker, though.

He wouldn't have had so much to do if he'd worked harder to finish it all in class.

J's teacher is great about giving these kids second (and sometimes third) chances to get their classwork done. If something goes missing or they didn't finish it in time and didn't think to go finish it at home, she'll put together a packet of what needs to be done, along with a list of each assignment, and sends it home.

This has happened to J before. Often papers included in the packet will spark a bit of memory with me. As I've gone through the massive piles of paper J occasionally brings home (after he's been told repeatedly to clean out his desk until it's so full he can't shove anything else in there) an occasional uncompleted assignment will appear, but when asked if he needs to finish and turn it in the most I'll get is a shrug of the shoulders. So the paper typically gets tossed.

Normally this isn't a big deal. At the most he might bring home a packet of two or three papers. Tonight was so vastly different I almost wanted to cry. There were ten papers included, some of them front and back! When I asked if he was supposed to get them turned in by tomorrow (Friday) he just kept nodding his head. Whether or not this is true I couldn't say for certain, but I could see it was important to him that we finish it for tomorrow.

So after dinner we went to work. He accomplished about four pages in an hour's time, and I let him off to go play outside. I'm a firm believer in the benefits of physical exercise in keeping one's brain sharp and active (which may explain why mine's so dull and rusty). After about 40 minutes of play I was pleased to see him come back willingly to continue working.

There was so much to do it was almost nine before we called it a night. His little hand was practically shaking it was so tired - he does clutch the pencil rather tight. He still has one more paper to complete, and his spelling words to practice in the morning, but he didn't complain a bit and did a great job. His little eyes were so tired and his already illegible handwriting just got worse the later we worked.

There were two lessons J and I learned out of this experience, one for each of us. For J, to bring home any assignments left uncompleted in class, finish them, and get them turned in so he's not doing the same assignment more than once. And Mom's lesson? The next time he shrugs, I'm definitely not throwing the paper away!

1 comment:

Momma Ellen said...

Good luck with homework, Laurie. I'm so proud of you for jumping in and helping him do it!