Our son started first grade this year and with that brought BIG changes. He is in a new classroom with a new teacher. He now has to wear a full uniform to school and attend a weekly church service (he is in parochial school). But, the most drastic change this year is the inclusion of my old arch enemy…homework.
You see I wasn't what they call a "dedicated" student. I did what I had to do to get by, but other than that I had what I perceived to be "better" things to do. Homework somehow got "misplaced" from school to home to back to school. It's not that I couldn't do it (the work came easy at times), it's just that I didn't want to do it. I was lazy, though I am sure today I would have been diagnosed with some sort of attention disorder.
How is a boy supposed to prioritize studying when He-Man and Thundercats are projecting from the television?
Times are different now. I am the parent now so I have to help set the guidelines. I have become strict to a point but also remember the struggles I faced as a kid. I still have some questions, though, that maybe some of the great Chicago Parents can help me with. Here are a couple:
When is the best time to encourage your child to tackle his homework?
We have found with our son, it is best to give him a half hour to an hour to "decompress" when he arrives home from school. He eats a snack, plays a bit, and maybe catches a show from the DVR. That gives Mom and Dad a minute to catch up as well. Then my wife or I sit down with him and hammer out whatever may be in his folder.
How much "help" do you offer your child with his or her homework?
Leo had a cut and paste project assigned the other day. I, being the detail orientated artist that I am, soon took the project over when my son decided to put four pounds of glue on every square inch of paper. When the project was completed it was sharp, to the point, and a brilliant visual display of numbers. The only problem…it wasn't my son's project anymore. It had become mine. There was NO WAY I was passing this off as a 6-year-old's project, and if it had passed as one I probably would have jumped off a bridge.
So what do you say Chicago Parents? I would love to hear feedback about your adventures in homework…
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.