Changing homework habits

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I have spent nearly nine years teaching my children that patience is a virtue (although sadly, not one of mine) and that there are no stupid questions.
Then, I spent 20 minutes explaining the art of making change to a first grader and all bets were off.
All in. Teaching aids included, but were not limited to: drawings, charts, role-playing, charades, stuffed animals and real money on the table. The only thing we lacked was a CPA and an IRS agent for a follow-up audit.
“Now, you give me 10 dollars for a game that costs four dollars. How much change would you get back?” I asked my daughter, the heart of my heart.
“What kind of game?” she responded.
“Is it Care Bears ’cause Care Bears is the whole ten dollars and then I might need more money. For candy.”
Forcing myself to remain calm, I resisted the urge to see how much I could get for HER.
I went back over it again. And again.
“Now,” I asked, perhaps a bit more forcefully than I should have, “how much would you have left over?”
“From what?” she asked brightly.
“From the 10 dollars! From the 10 DOLLARS!” I yelled.
A grown woman losing it over fake funds with a small child.
So, to whom do I speak about reclaiming the hour of my life spent not making change with a kid who thinks the only object to Monopoly is getting the little dog to drive the little race car around the board as fast as possible while wearing the thimble like a hat? Well that, and losing all your money.
Do not pass Go. I made this discovery when the kids were playing Monopoly Jr. and my daughter was horrified at the prospect of collecting $200 for passing “GO.”
When I questioned why this would be a bad thing, she told me the object of the game was to lose all your money. Clearly she is destined for a job with the federal government.
It’s not that I want to be a complete drag about this homework thing. I really am not a “pushy” parent. I just want them to do what the teacher requires and, when doing it, to try their very best.
After that, I sincerely want them to understand that the world doesn’t end if they bring home a C in math class because heck if THAT is going to stop them from conquering the world.
Back in the day. For the record, I DID get good grades, but in all my years of high school I think I did homework once, maybe twice.
It wasn’t that I was a bad kid, I just figured out I could throw something together right before the bell rang and save lugging all those books home.
Nonetheless, I wish I had paid attention to how teachers impart knowledge – to those so dead set against receiving it – without losing their minds.
Honestly, I think the real problem is I have no earthly idea how I ended up the ultimate authority on homework. It’s yet another aspect of parenting that I have no training or certification for but suddenly, simply by dint of giving birth, I’m a mathematician?
You know, I’d give you a penny for my thoughts on the wisdom of that, but then we’d have to figure the change.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a anti-mathematical genius. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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