"Jakob hates homework"...Shari Hanson
When my friend, Shari, posted this a few months ago, my heart went out to her poor boy. Before my girls were school age, I dreamed about how fun and productive homework time would be. I saved my cute extra workbook pages and math manipulatives from my classroom and kept them in a drawer in my office. I envisioned my girls and I at the kitchen table, them working on their homework with me assisting and poppin' out the homework helpers. What child could be better equipped to do homework than one with a former teacher for a mom? It's like free tutoring! Score!
Well, that bubble went the way of the bursting many years ago. My little Heather, exhausted from six hours of school didn't like homework. She'd been struggling all day and didn't want to continue the torture at home. Of course, I was kind and supportive. There were M&M's when she'd reach the end of each sentence, and treats for getting work done at school. I was fiercely protective of her self-esteem and cheered her on no matter how small the accomplishment. She was a good sport for a long time, but the discrepancy between what was required and what she could produce became problematic.
I never envisioned dropping my child off at school and worrying if her teacher would be kind to her during the day, or if other kids would tease her for not getting her work done fast. I didn't foresee spending hours on the internet researching terms like executive dysfunction, ADD and dysgraphia. I could never have envisioned the frustration of knowing that what was in my daughter's highly intelligent brain would not ever translate from her brain to her paper. And worse than that, that she would feel stupid because she couldn't express herself like those kids for whom public school was designed.
When I started this post, I was not quite sure where it was going to go. Our journey isn't finished yet, and most writers wait until the end of the journey to write about it. The perspective gained is what others like to read about. I don't have that perspective yet, but I know that it will come. There are four weeks of this school year left, and I'm not sure if Heather or myself will be more relieved on the last day?! Heather is done with homework and tests and rigid teachers. I am SO done watching our public school try to force my square peg into an inflexible round hole. I have become twitchy and defensive expecting the worst from a teacher instead of the best. This is not a good way to promote personal sanity, so I've got to re-wire this summer and do some positive thinking!
I want to take my girl and Shari's sweet Jakob and all those other cute, darling, amazing children out there and open my own school! I want to nurture them and love them and help them find success! I am weary and over being told that if a child can't add it up, write it down, or color it to perfection, their intelligence isn't valuable. Something has got to give, and I'm going to keep pushing and pulling until it does!
If you made it this far, thanks for listening!