Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Homework Already

I am THAT parent.

The one the teachers talk about over coffee in the morning.
The one they shake their heads about and give knowing looks to each other.
The one they have secret names for when I’m not around.

I didn’t plan to be THAT parent. I’m not even sure how I got to this point. I just know that somehow I had to take a stand. Maybe a quiet one, for now. Maybe a small one, for now. But I know bigger ones are coming.

It started simple enough. When the girl moved to the 3-year-old room, she began getting a ‘Friday folder’. In the folder were two worksheets – one with her name three times and the other was usually some sort of additional tracing sheet: letters, numbers, shapes, etc. At first, these were new experiences so the girl was excited to try them out. We’d get out special pencils and markers and ‘trace’ our name and letters. Her fine motor control is off, so she never really stayed on the lines, but she had fun. We’d send the papers back each week and the next Friday there would be new papers. She felt like one of the big kids, so we kept going.

A few weeks ago, her enthusiasm for her homework tasks began to decline. It started to involve a lot of nagging on my part in order to get her to do the work. And when she did do it, she didn’t enjoy it; she did it because I told her she had to complete the sheet. A few weeks later, she was avoiding her folder altogether and waiting until Monday morning to do her sheets before she went to daycare.

Finally, about four weeks ago, she said, “Mommy, I don’t like doing homework,” that’s when I knew something had to change.

She’s three.

Three. Years. Old.

She has a LOT of years of homework ahead of her. More years of homework than I care to imagine. Homework that I hope has been carefully considered before being assigned. Homework that I hope is thought provoking and provides opportunities for conversations and sharing. Homework that I hope is open-ended and short, rather than rote and time consuming. Everything that the worksheets were not.

I rebelled. I started throwing the sheets away. 

Lately, our weekends have been spent digging weeds and worms out of the backyard. We’ve been busy reading books and playing with stickers. Her Lego houses have become more elaborate and detailed. There hasn’t been time for worksheet practice.

I’m okay with that.

I’ll own being THAT parent, if it means my kid gets to be a kid for a little while longer.

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