When homework threatens your sanity

When Emme  started Classical Conversations in August, I was pretty sure that we’d be in therapy by Labor Day.  She was shell shocked at the work load after the first week, and the next week after that she simply stuck her head in the sand and mentally willed all the work away…while singing her happy song.

I wonder where she got THAT coping mechanism?

In order to get through her work load, I felt like I had to drag her through thick mud.  Often we (and by we I mean WE) wouldn’t get the last of the work done until late Sunday night, and there have been occasions that she would be typing away early on a Monday morning prior to her class at CC.

Needless to say, the environment in our home hasn’t been pleasant.  And add to that the fact that we’re dealing with PUBERTY (her) and MENOPAUSE (me), well, as you might guess we’re all playing fast and loose with our grip on reality.

I now have an idea what parents have to deal with in the area of HOMEWORK when their children are in the school system.  More than one of my friends call homework the albatross that hangs around their neck during the school year.

There is an article that I gravitated to at the Mom’s Homeroom site about how to keep kids on track with regard to their homework.  I was surprised to learn that as a general rule, kids should have 10 minutes worth of homework per year they’re in school.  For example, by the 6th grade, a child should expect about an hours worth of homework.  But as I know from talking with friends, and from the article, those minutes drag on far longer.

The reasons for the delay can vary from your basic procrastination, DISTRACTION (LOOK!  A CHICKEN!), feeling overwhelmed, and just plain old bad study habits.

Emme suffers from a variety of each of these variables, it would seem.  But just when I thought I would go bald from tearing my hair out, her father, sensing the tension and tiring of his wife crying in the closet, stepped in to find a solution.

On Tuesday of this week, Fiddledaddy took Emme out to breakfast for a planning session.  He explained the importance of budgeting her time, and urged her to take ownership of her work load.  After all, the child hates for her mother to nag her, and the mother hates to nag.  This would be a win win scenario should it work.

He took her through each of her subjects and asked her how much time she needed for each.  He then showed her how to schedule out her day, including those times when she is out of the house for sports and other activities.  When she saw this on paper, she concluded that she couldn’t afford to put things off, lest she lose out on her beloved extracurricular activities.

And you know what?  This week has gone so much more smoothly.  She has budgeted time in the mornings, with more time in the late afternoon after events, and sometimes even after dinner if needed.  Ideally she should have been done by Friday afternoon, but there is one paper she still needs to write on Sunday.  But she’s only looking at one subject, instead of the usual 3 or 4.

Baby steps.  But in my opinion, huge strides.

Someone mentioned to me that there is about a 6 week breaking in period with regard to Classical Conversations, and we are just now hitting week 6.

And I’m happy to report that no one is in therapy.

What I’ve learned is that time management skills are best learned, at any age.  And if you happen to look into my housekeeping skill set, I really ought to be taking copious notes myself.

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4 Responses to When homework threatens your sanity

  • I’m thrilled to learn that no one is in therapy yet. I’m even more thrilled that you shared the strategy that Fiddledaddy used with Emme. That might help some of us adults with Time Management Issues That Need Tissues, too! 🙂

  • Hey, great news! We are on our mid-semester break, catching our breath. It has been wonderful!! We go back for week eight on the 9th.

  • Wow, when I pulled my kids out of school our school system’s rule of thumb was an hour of homework per grade up to grade 4 (maybe 5?).

    So, my 4th grade son was coming home with 4 HOURS of homework each night. I kid you not.

    One of the most important skills in life that your children will learn is time management. It is awesome your child is learning it now.

  • We just started homeschooling this year so I probably have a little different perspective…I think what your husband did was a great idea. That’s the way we always approached homework or projects when they were in public school starting around 5th grade. They became responsible for their own work. I would help them plan out a schedule to get it done in time and ask/check progress every so often but it was their responsibility to get it done. My oldest 2 each had a couple of issues, but once they faced the consequences it didn’t happen again. It’s hard to stand by though and know they may not get it all done…Glad things are going smoother for you.