Homework: How Much Should We Help?
The other day, I picked my son up from school and he proudly announced that he had homework. I know it sounds corny, but honestly, my heart melted a little bit. My little tiny baby boy has homework? As in, an assignment? My mind raced... I am not prepared for this. After school, I was thinking we'd go home and play. Snack. Watch TV. Take a bath and go to dinner. NOW, I have to think about homework... When should he do it? Where should he do it? He can't read, so how much do I help him? Do I correct him? Do I force him to do it if he doesn't want to?
I swear, it was just yesterday that I was thinking about diapers and pacifiers. Now he has homework and clearly, I need to do mine.
The assignment was simple ... well, actually, to be honest. It required some reading comprehension. The worksheet was about drawing diagonal lines and the instructions said "trace all --- lines red, blue, and yellow." Easy. Trace EVERY dotted line with all three colors. Right? I explain what he needs to do and without actually DOING it for him, I pretty much DO it for him.
As he's doing it (and doing it properly), I start to feel guilty. Yes, I realize this is his FIRST homework assignment and it's to trace friggin’ lines and it's not going to determine whether he goes to Harvard or Yale (or will it??)... BUT I worry that if I don't let him kind of, sort of, figure it out and make mistakes, he can't learn on his own. Again, I realize he cannot read so it' s pretty much my responsibility to translate what the assignment is, but is this the beginning of helicopter home working??
Well, the next day, on our walk to school, my son must have asked four times if we remembered his homework. When we got to his classroom, all the children were standing at the door, with their worksheets in hand, excited to turn it in to the teacher. It was pretty darling and cute... Another moment I tried to cherish as it's unlikely they'll have that enthusiasm during AP English and History (Yes, I'm putting him on the AP track. Now). Anyway, I turned to talk to another mom and out of the corner of my eye, I see my son talking to another little boy and he's pointing at his homework.
"You did it wrong," my boy says. "You weren't supposed to trace each one a different color. You were supposed to trace them ALL with ALL the colors."
The other boy clings to his mother. The mother then says to my son, "Thanks, sweetie. We get it."
I smiled and said "Sorry," then ushered him inside. Before I left, I told him that he cannot be the homework monitor-- he needs to just think about himself and let the teacher correct or teach the other children how to do something properly.
"But he did it wrong, mommy," he said.
"I understand, but you need to let the teacher handle it."
And so the new chapter of school and homework and all things big boy begins... I'm still not sure where I stand on the homework front... How much to help or if I should help at all... But I suppose it will be a work in progress. One thing is certain: I have a lot to learn....