Homework Strategies

Math Homework

Sometimes when one of my kids is struggling with finishing a homework assignment or project, I’ll ultimately toss out the suggestion that they put it away for the night and get up early in the morning to wrap it up. Its a risky move, because there’s no backup plan. Its “sink or swim”. There’s always that possibility that the alarm doesn’t go off, the printer fails, or the window of time allotted simply isn’t adequate. Usually though, I don’t offer the idea unless the prospects for the rest of the evening are looking desperate. They look at me with glazed eyes when I ask them how its going, or worse yet, a look of utter hopelessness. When they tell me the situation, sometimes I can tell that its clearly a case of unrecognized fatigue.  They are over-the-top and don’t have the foggiest idea of how tired they are.

Robby is the best at recognizing the truth of this type of situation, and I thought, earlier this evening, that we might be in for one of those nights. After yesterday’s brutally long soccer game, he had high-school tryouts today; two more hours of soccer after school. At one point this evening he had both feet in a bucket of ice-water and a shoulder ice-pack wrapped around one hamstring. He had just confessed to me that he wasn’t sure it had been a good decision not to do any homework this weekend. I just gulped and privately rolled my eyes. I knew he wouldn’t ask me to rescue him.

So here it is, almost 11:30 pm and guess who’s in bed and who’s not?

I wonder if he ever walks upstairs to go to bed, sees me sitting here typing, gulps, rolls his eyes and goes into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Having given myself this midnight deadline every day, there is no getting up early to finish the “assignment”. I know no one is checking, but I’m kind of that way about commitments. If I said I’d write and post a photograph every day, I’ll do my damnedest to do so – for me. Tonight, the “assignment” may be to make it short and sweet. I spent a good chunk of time writing this morning: morning pages, affirmations, working on a piece for my workshop, then more time doing another project that involved reading and writing. By the time I got up, it was noon. My brain was starting to hurt and my eyes starting to cross. I was starving and thirsty. I haven’t yet looked over some of what I was working on, but there has to be something good in there if I was that absorbed.

Tonight, the writing part of my brain is drained and I will spend three hours in a writing workshop in the morning. If I were the kid sitting at the kitchen table right now, I might suggest that I go to bed and finish the project in the morning…


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