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Parents Talk: Crappy Homework

Is it okay to allow your child to take an ugly homework assignment to school?

Many of you know my son started early  a few weeks ago. It's been really fun getting him ready for school, making him some lunch, sending little notes to his teachers and seeing him interact with other students. He really enjoys going to school which is what my and I love. 

Over the last two weeks he has received a few assignments. Nothing too intense, just a few craft projects. The first assignment was to make a paper like figure of Elias and the second assignment was to design a family tree. Immediately when I saw that he had homework I was very excited. I even called my husband and told him about it. He as well was rather pleased that homework was given. I know this sounds a little corny, but we are new with our children having homework. Homework is serious business in my family!

Anyhow, after I told my husband that our son had homework he told me to make sure I let Elias do his own work. And I laughed at his statement. There was no way in this world, I was going to let my three-year-old make a picture of himself by himself. His request sounded very foolish to me. So I told my husband that there was no way I was going to allow our son to do his own homework. My husband then told me that his parents always did his craft projects. And I told him that my parents never did my craft projects and so all my projects looked like crap. So, this became interesting to me because once again, we are coming from two points of view when it comes to raising our children. 

As parents, there will be many times where we differ, but the important thing is to compromise. As we talked back and forth sharing our views, we decided that at this time Elias can assist us in doing his homework until he gets older. For his first assignment, I purchased some blue felt, some wiggle eyes, some black cotton balls for his hair and some Toy Story 3 stickers. Once we got home, I placed all the items on the kitchen table and had him sit along with me as we worked on this project. I let him color the blank figure of himself brown and then I allowed him to place the wiggly eyes and design a nose. The nose wasn't to my liking, but I let that go. After I was done designing a felt blue jacket with matching felt pants, I then allowed him to place the Toy Story 3 stickers on the jacket. When my husband came home and saw this miniature figurine with a huge afro and blue jumpsuit, he just shook his head. Oh, the joy of parenting!

It is amazing how this one little homework assignment opened up the door for my husband and I to get to know each other better. My husband now knows that I refuse to send my kids to school with crappy homework and I know that if some parts of the project are not to my liking it's okay. 

Enjoy the early stages of , they only come once!

Raven Nichols September 21, 2011 at 04:47 PM
What a great column! This is something I've struggled with for years. My oldest is now a seventh grader, and there have been many times over the years when my husband has had to tell me to back off on a project or homework. I know exactly what you mean-- homework and projects are a big deal here too, and I tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist. It has taken a long time, but I'm at the point now where their work is their work, and I don't jump in and fix every little thing. I may sit on my hands and verbally point out glaring errors or make suggestions, but I don't take over anymore. Mostly because during a particularly trying volcano project last year, my daughter finally set me straight and asked me to please let her do HER project. ;) The second kid is easier. Poor little Jack is in kindergarten now and is accustomed to getting one set of directions from me and then being left to his own devices.
Katha Blackwell September 22, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Thanks Raven! It's good to know I'm not the only parent trying to maximize their project potential. If my children tell me to back off, I'll greatly consider their request....and then finish what I started. LOL!

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