Picture the conversation last weekend at the start if half term:
Me: “Do you have any homework?”
Tiny Pants & Bean Pole “Nooooooo”
Cue protests at my disbelief and slurs on my trust of their commitment to education.
Now fast forward to an hour ago as I ready myself for my own return to work and their return to school…. “But our homework has to be in tomorrow!!!”…. This is the homework which magically appeared today and is suddenly MY fault for not letting them do it because we were out swimming, feeding ducks and going to the cinema.
So here we are with two children sitting at the dining table in homework hell. With me and the long suffering husband taking it in turns to refuse snacks, redirect the wandering one back to the table, and mention to the beanpole that she isn’t actually going to die from doing a bit of maths.
So what joys of education do we have this evening?
Well, tiny pants is writing a book report and seems quite enthused. We have one of her favourite poetry books out and I’ve given her a list of questions that she has to answer to make a good report. She seems to be following the instructions and aside from the occasional “how do you spell…” she’s got her head down.
The bean pole is a whole other story. She’s on maths and we have some ‘instructional issues’. As in she has an inability to actually follow any. She’s been given a page of shopping receipts which she is using for long addition (kudos to her teacher for implementing some constructivist learning techniques, but who was the nail varnish for Mr C?!). The long suffering husband is making an attempt to guide her through the process and is getting increasingly flustered by her lack of willing participation and insistence on telling him that her way is the right way.
I probably didn’t help by taking a photo of her enthusiasm for homework.
So, how do we get past this homework block?
My initial thoughts were based on shouting and other military drills, but actually I think the long suffering husband has got it right. He’s letting her do it her way (the teacher in me is screaming that it’s not the right way, but it is her way and I have to let her do it the way she’s being taught). He’s just sitting quietly next to them reading a magazine and offering occasional help.
This is why I’m teaching other people’s children and not my own. I have the patience of bloody saints when it comes to other people’s moody teenagers, but cannot fathom why my own offspring just won’t sit down an learn.