My husband and I share custody of his 2 sons, now 3rd and 4th grade. We have them 2-3 days each week, along with rotating weekends. Our time with them is limited and constantly invaded by homework demands and frustrations.
We are a very pro education family, with both of us having degrees and professional careers. We both know the realities of what education can do for a person’s future opportunities, so we believe that supporting our kids learning opportunities is priority! However, we have developed a resentment of the quantity of this work ever since our kids started 1st grade.
Our first issue is that we (parents) did not sign up for returning back to school ourselves when our kids started. The homework often requires our time and involvement, explaining, interpreting, and reviewing the homework along with our kids in order for them to get through it; this is after we have put in 12 hour work days ourselves.
Also, we are put in the position of being teachers in the evenings.. and it is clear that we are not trained to perform in this manner. Our own inability to know how our kids are being instructed (which differs greatly than our methods learned 30 years ago) gets in the way and confuses the kids. Our own career choice to not go into teaching was for good reason. The patience and special temperament required to be a teacher is a unique and special skill that parents to not necessarily have. And we don’t want to be put at odds with our kids over our own lack of good instruction!
Last issue is that our patience and time is taxed already with teaching our kids all other life lessons… housework chores, sharing with siblings, conflict resolution, personal grooming, manners, balancing responsibilities with fun, physical fitness, eating healthy, etc. etc. the list goes on….
Reading, writing, math, history, literature, etc. is why our kids spend more time with their teachers each day than with their families already!
How wonderful it would be to be able to spend our 3 hours of time together in the evenings sharing stories about our day, laughing at a few funny shows, reading a bed time story, playing outside, baking cookies, etc… rather than rushing through the evening, barking like drill sargeants, hurrying through dinner,etc. so that there is enough time for them to get their homework done before bedtime at 8:30!
Keep up the fight!!!!
Edmond’s School District, North of Seattle, WA