I know that I am not alone in feeling like somehow the education system is failing our children, in the way it’s been structured with homework. I mean Emilie is in grade 6, the level, the quantity and the expectation kill all of us. Not to mention that sometimes my child struggles to focus (How to not deal with a distracted child). Now add to that extra murals which are compulsory and you basically have a child going to bed at 10pm. Which is not okay for me. Logically, this creates tension, and also a lot of pressure on your child. Especially homework pressure.
I’m the first to admit that I lose my shit, and I do it a lot. I have serious mom guilt about it when it happens, but I’ve been trying to be better. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of Emilie’s upcoming changes as well as the pressure. (Hey mom, cut me some slack!) As usual though, my human-ness comes through and I still apply the pressure way too much. A few weeks ago, I was checking homework and something struck me about the way the Math was calculated. Or actually the lack of calculations. When I asked Emma about how she calculated she hesitated a bit, and then started scribbling some things on a scrap piece of paper. Uhming and ahhing before she eventually said “I copied it”.
In that moment, I felt so many things. Anger, has this child lost her mind to tell me this? Disappointment, why would she do this? Shame, this is not how we have raised her. I walked away, partly because I wasn’t sure how to react and partly because I didn’t want to blow up right there. This is also a tactic I use to scare her a little because she doesn’t know what to expect if I don’t react.
Did I just say that? Do I want to scare my child? This is the safer alternative for us both though. It took a while but I thought about the sports she had that day. The bed time we enforce and us always telling her to pay attention in class, so that homework is easier. Better yet, finish your homework at school!
Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. What did I expect from an 11 year old to do with all that? It was only 4 copied questions but it constituted a meeting in our home. Dam da da dum..nah not really. Ian and I had to discuss the way we were handling the amount of homework and possibly looking at cutting back and sticking to a better routine to enable her to be more at ease. Obviously we also had to talk to her about copying.
I too have copied some homework in my day, way back when so tried not to come down too harshly. Just enough to help her understand, that the homework is really for her own benefit and no one else. She’s doing herself a disservice by copying because she loses the opportunity to practice. Something the school deemed necessary. I don’t always agree with the way they are doing things, but it is what it is. We discussed her extra murals and that if her school work suffered we would need to re-look at the amount of days she’s doing sports. She was pretty disappointed in herself too, which helped me to stay calm.
What did I learn from this? Things are different from when I was at school. Not just a little bit but way different. The pressures are different, somewhat more and it’s hard! Striking a balance to find a happy medium between discipline, having a life and being a school going kid is even harder. We aren’t completely sure how to prevent this in the future but are more mindful of daily activities, assisting where we can and mostly just trying to keep communication lines open for if she needs to talk. (Omission is a lie, or is it?) Have you experienced this? I am trying to remember that not all her behaviours reflect badly on my parenting and that kids will be kids.