Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe I Wasn't Always Totally Bitchin' at Homework, Either.

I was amazed at all the comments yesterday from other parents commiserating and offering advice or just words of experience and consolation on the subject of kids and homework. It seems to be a pretty sensitive subject that deserves more looking into.

And since my vlog is still not ready and won't be posted until 2 a.m. tonight (sorry to lead you on yesterday! ;-), I thought I might offer some insight that I gained from all the great comments.

First, let me just clarify that though I was blessed with an aptitude for getting good grades in school, I was far from stellar as an early grade-schooler. In fact, in third grade (the grade that CC is in) I suffered from a stomach ailment that mysteriously only surfaced during math period. Me and Helen, the school nurse, were likethis that year. So much so, that I can't remember her last name. Because I was on a first-name basis with her! If my stomach didn't ache, I would have temporary bouts of diarrhea. All because multiplication and division threw me for a loop I was not expecting. I couldn't figure it out!! I was appalled with myself and embarrassed that I couldn't get it and was too scared to deal with it by asking the teacher to work more with me or to ask my parents for extra help. It seems pretty silly, in retrospect. But I was 8 years old, whatcha gonna do?!

I really should've flunked math that year. And I would've if I hadn't been the teacher's pet in all things that had to do with English, spelling, and creative writing. (I still have a treasured haiku somewhere that my precious little self wrote about where the butterflies go when it rains *aaaaw*.) The price I ended up paying for my foray into psychosomatic math-induced illness was having to attend the dreaded "math trailer" for the entirety of my 4th grade year, where I attended remedial math with the other dunderheads that couldn't hack it when things got tougher than addition and subtraction.

As it turned out, that year in the math trailer made all the difference because not only did I finally figure it out, I actually got a lot of my confidence back while becoming slightly more empathetic to the kids who struggled with issues in the class. I was probably still a little bitch to most of them, though, so don't go sainting me or anything. ;-)

So, what brought about this admission of my own fallibility as a young student? A comment from A Mouthy Irish Woman?! What?? got me thinking when she responded, like my nine year old, with the comment "Studying is stupid. Shit." I read a big emphasis on the "is" and was like -DOH!- of course it IS. I am just galled and annoyed to no end that my son has the balls to bring his homework home and say "STUPID HOMEWORK! I'M NOT GOING TO DO IT!!!" and then stomping to his room and slamming the door, he will crumple it up in a fury and throw it across the room. It is kind of adorable when he brings the paper back to me all straightened out and explains defiantly that it "looks like that because I crumpled it all up because I hate it so much."

I had to admit I used to feel that way, too. Only, I turned all that anger and frustration into a tight little ball of misery in my guts. Honestly, boys are so freaking different. How am I going to make it through the really moody times ahead when I've got three adolescent young men on my hands!!??

p.s. The caption for that photo, provided by a facebook buddy, is "That's the Amy I remember, lockstep with everyone else." ;-)

p.p.s. Swear to blog, the vlog will be up tomorrow!!


  1. Amy,

    Was our elementary school gym teacher your coach--Joyce Whatshername? She was pure evil and made me cry on more than one occasion. Anyway, the lady on the left looks like her. I saw her in Subway a year or two ago and immediately wanted to run the other way.

    Ah, flashback to the trailers! My brother also let the stress of school go straight to his gut. He also had trouble sleeping because he dreaded school so much. Poor guy. I was blessed enough to "get" most of what was being taught. My major perils were to and from school on blasted bus no. 2.

    Good luck with your son. Maybe the change it schools will help give him a fresh start.

  2. I remember 4 grade being almost practically chained to the kitchen table and made to do homework What a year...

  3. Since my Six Word Memior is "Think I peaked in Grade 3" (the year I skipped a grade)you can imagine how I felt about school after that. I have great empathy for my sons when it comes to home work, I just don't get their reaction to it either.

  4. I was in eighth grade before I could tell time with any certainty. Still have to count by fives. But an Ivy League school gave me a degree! (not in math).

    When I looked at the photo I thought, "looking at the boys, not the camera..."

  5. Looks like you were part of the original sandlot crew. That was awesome. You rock sister. Serious the best.

  6. Great post. You are such a thoughtful parent. I think its smart to remember your younger self when dealing with these frustrating little folks...remind me of that okay?

  7. you pretty much rock it sister. i went to summer school. one time. thats all it took.

  8. The school nurse and I were likethis too!

    Norma Stanton. . . I loved her!

  9. School sucks. I feel so bad for my child sometimes. The worst is not knowing how to explain things to them that they dont understand, when you dont understand the way the teachers are teaching it these days!!!! It's all very frustrating and I'm soooo looking forward to having all 3 of them in school (note the extreme sarcasam)!!!!

  10. I love the image of CC coming back to you sheepishly straightening out the homework sheet. You know that that in itself shows you will get through it, and yes, with all three. BTW, does setting some timelines and heaven forbid (blackmail??)...ahem, I mean rewards ;) sound so terrible?

    I love that you have remembered back to when you were their age. For me it was anything sporty or active...THAT is when my cramps would hit!!

  11. I was in the remedial math, as well. It kind of opened my social circle a bit - ifyouknowwhatImean (I met the "bad" boys - who I am still inexplicably attracted to)
    And on the homework issue...IMHO (I'm a teacher) some parts of school are about socialization - being able to accomplish a task given to you. That being said, homework should never be a "new" concept, but rather practice of a concept taught in school. So, yes - It sucks. But so does life, sometimes. If we want to be successful, sometimes we have to do the sucky stuff in order to feel a sense of accomplishment. Hope that makes sense!
    (definitely looking at the boys in that pic!)

  12. First of all, you're welcome. :)

    And really have ADD. When youre pictured as the only child in a group whos looking at probably a kitten running around across the street while everyone else looks into the camera--thats how you know you've got ADD!



Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.