Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homework Hassles and Why I'm Going Gray(er)

Our son has gotten much better about doing his homework since school began. The first couple months we had to sit over him to ensure he read the directions, and actually DID the work. Then we hit a short-lived nirvana where he'd come home, do his work with minimal help, and life was good. Now we've reached the winter doldrums, which, crossed with Asperger's, perfectionism, a math learning disability, and preteen angst, is rapidly accelerating the rate at which my hair is going gray.

It's not DOING the homework that's the issue right now, it's getting him to put in the effort to try to do it correctly, and to check and correct it once it's finished. You'd think this would be common sense: make sure you understand the work, do the work, check the work, and correct what you've done if you see mistakes. I'm not after perfection here - a good faith effort is fine. But our son has decided that once he's done the work once (whether or not he understood the directions), checking and correcting are just a waste of his free time. In real life, "Oh well, good enough!" is NOT good enough. "Who cares if it's wrong?" is not going to fly around here. "So what if I fail a homework?" is not an acceptable attitude. "I hate math, I stink at it, so why try?" is a frequent complaint we hear from him. Hence the head-butting, hair-graying confrontations now taking place most days over his math homework.

Tough love makes us wade through the hassle and attitude to help him check his work, and show him how to correct his mistakes. Letting him get away with this is not an option, because letting him fail something doesn't motivate him to do better, and he learns nothing. He's done well adjusting to school, better than we might have expected, but this homework battle is worth fighting and essential to win. Letting him give up now will set him up for failure for the rest of his life. I know this is fundamentally a work ethic issue, and not that many preteens have a great natural work ethic, so I know I'm not alone in this battle. We had the same struggle with teaching him at home, so this is nothing new. Frankly, I'm very grateful to have other adults telling him that he needs to do his work and try his best, and helping him to do it. Perfection is impossible, but persistence will pay off and basic competence IS attainable for him. So, we'll keep pushing through this.

Time to go buy more hair color.

Just keep 


  1. We have been hearing the same from the girly with anything that just doesn't interest her. 'Well, if I don't like it, why should I?' I am beginning to appreciate the children should be seen and not heard saying. lol

  2. Oh yeah, I always liked that rule too, lol. Too bad it isn't working right now! But his work got done last night with no fuss, so maybe we'll end the week on an "up" note.