Two months into my daughter’s first year in elementary school, I had to go out of town for three nights. Not trusting my husband (don’t judge me yet!) to remember to help her with her nightly homework, I worked ahead with her in the days before I left. When I set out on my work trip, I was confident that my husband would be able to place the appropriate page in her folder each evening to go to school on the day it was due.
Ten minutes before I was to present to a room full of people, my phone buzzed that I had a new message. It was from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher, written during her lunch break. She wanted to check in with me because my daughter had arrived at school that day with no homework in her folder.
Now we have two children in elementary school who not only have daily homework from their teachers, but also have piano lessons to practice each night and the occasional project to work on for scouts. I still travel for work every few weeks, but my husband has gotten much better about remembering to place the kids’ completed homework in their folders. That doesn’t mean that our system is now flawless, however. With our daughter, the biggest challenge was getting the completed homework into the folder. With my son, the biggest challenge is getting him to complete the homework.
Earlier this week I needed to work in the evening, and while the kids’ homework is usually done by the time my husband gets home, on this particular day our after school schedule didn’t permit that. My husband boldly agreed to help the kids with their homework while I worked. The next day I sat down with the kids to complete their homework for that night, and I expected to find that the homework from the night before had been finished correctly. Instead I found that my son’s weekly reading homework packet was written completely in uppercase letters rather than the way he was expected to write his words. When I asked the kids about it, they said, “Dad gave up.”
I know that as our kids get older these types of struggles will just increase as the complexity of their homework increases. Right now we have to sit with our son for the entire time he is working on his homework because he is only five, but our second grade daughter just needs the occasional answer to a question. And maybe over time my husband’s homework helping strength will develop beyond placing papers in folders.