“I can’t keep up with my daughter’s homework,” a customer told me at work the other day. This woman is my friend and she’s a great mum, but she told me she was at the end of her tether. “I come home from work and between helping with homework and dinner I don’t settle down until 8 o’clock at night. I’m exhausted and I only have one kid!”
I was fairly certain she was looking for some guidance, which always amuses and frightens me. People always assume, because I have so many kids, I’m good with tips and parenting advice. Nuh huh. The only thing seven kids proves is I have no rhythm.
When it comes to homework there were a couple of points I felt obliged to make known to my friend. Firstly, my kids seem to gravitate towards a C grade so we aren’t learning as many words per child as she is, and secondly, I don’t help much with the homework because my wife handles most of that before I even finish work.
“Delegation’s the key,” I told her helpfully. “What you really need is a wife.”
I am perhaps the worst parent in the world at helping with homework. Quite aside from numbers behaving differently these days to when I was at school, I simply don’t have the patience, as depicted in this mock homework example:
“How can you not know how to spell this word?” I’ll accuse a child of mine when we go back over a spelling word we’ve already learned. “You just wrote it a minute ago and said it out loud five times! Seriously? You’re doing this on purpose aren’t you? You are. Very funny. Now tell me how to spell it or there’s no electronics for a month, and I mean no DS, no iPod, no television, no light-bulbs and no hot water. And stop crying – you’re wetting your homework book.”
No, I don’t think I’m the person to ask for homework advice.
But just when I think I’m perhaps the worst parent in the world at teaching their kids, my friend made me feel like I was maybe not doing so bad.
“I’m so sick of spending all night on homework I went to her teacher and demanded to know how many words does she need to get right to earn a B?” my friend told me. The teacher suggested a figure very close to where they were already. “I told the teacher, well that’s it. B is our upper limit. Once she gets those right she’s not to add any more. I’m not giving up any more of my night.”
I assume she was lying to make a point.
But it did prompt me to suggest maybe dad could help out. After all, it’s only reading the word off the list and having them write it down: it’s not mathegymnastics.
“Yeah!” she said, as though a world of possibilities had just opened up to her. “He can!”
Her husband is usually in on Tuesdays so I’m really hoping she doesn’t tell him where she got the idea. That might spell disaster 😉
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’