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Smarties British Candy

Smarties British Candy (Photo credit: fritish)

I muscled in on a discussion between some irate mums about homework on Twitter yesterday.

Apparently it is a universal issue of monumental proportions and I am not the only parent with the grey hair and eye twitch to prove that my child refuses to do his homework.

There are a lot of us out there who struggle nightly and at weekends to get the homework completed, and feel bullied by schools to make sure it gets done. It’s obviously harder these days when a lot of us women work, to find the time to monitor the kids homework as well as nurture them in other ways.

Homework sometimes feels like yet another way the government has of subtly leveraging parental guilt.

I was lucky with NC. I’m not saying that she always did her homework but she always took responsibility for it – she was far too proud to pass that baton of responsibility onto me.

I even remember scoring a few Head Teacher awards when she was in primary school, for projects that she was initially apathetic about – King Henry V111 was particularly odorous, I seem to remember – but man, if only you’d seen my wicked advent calendar-inspired front cover. The other mothers were spitting.

HEAD TEACHER’S AWARD – I should have been knighted!

Of course Kurt has been a very different story. Not only has Kurt never read a book, but he has also never completed a piece of homework voluntarily or in full.

Homework to kids with ADHD (and their parents) seems like a personal punishment from the Devil.

Persuading Kurt to do homework has been as hard as I imagine persuading Miley to be a good role model to kids is.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve used Smarties as math’s counters, guitar stickers as rewards, MacDonald’s as an incentive, timers, time out and mnemonics to help him remember things in what I thought were fun ways.

But I can assure you that it has been far from fun, and I threw in the towel a while ago. There’s only so much abuse a mother can take from her own spawn.

I still nag remind him about outstanding assignments and I am in secret communications with the school so that I am aware of every assignment he is given. But for the sake of my sanity and his mortality, there has to be a limit to my involvement now.

What I have done, and I realize that not every parent can afford to do this, is to hire a tutor to remove some of the pain. What she does is to brainstorm and organise him with those truly hideous assignments, those white knuckle ones with page upon page of description and educational jargon that make every parent want to hide in a small dark room and rock.

It is easily the best $40 I spend each week.

There are many kids who hate homework and there are an increasing number of teaching professionals (backed by research) who are questioning the benefits of it.

When you look at the pressure it puts on home life and the kids themselves, (who I am sure do far more extracurricular activities than they used to), it’s a wonder that it still enforced.

Home should be a safe haven for kids, not a battleground. Due to Kurt’s ADHD I have had to pick my battles, and in the scheme of things homework is of minor importance in terms of his overall development.

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