Are you ready to go back to school? If you have a child in school, get ready to hit the books.
My daughter is in first grade and already I'm worried about how we're going to make it through the next twelve years. We did pretty well in kindergarten, but this year we have homework.
Homework puts a whole new spin on your already chaotic evenings trying to get everyone fed, bathed and to bed. We've always read, but now we had to read, write, and calculate — things my brain has a hard time wrapping around after a fifteen-hour day.
Plus, as the parent, you're expected to know everything. This can be tricky in a day and age when we allow the Internet to think for us.
Luckily, my daughter is a self-starter. She loves homework. In fact, she wants to do the entire week's worth of assignments on Monday night. It reminds me of when I was in school and I used to tell my father I had to go to the library that night to get books for a paper.
"When is the paper due?" he would ask.
"Two months," I would say sheepishly. "But I don't want it hanging over my head. I want to get it done!”
Not unlike my parents who stressed the importance of education, I feel like I need to be there every step of the way helping my daughter.
Clearly, children need to do their own homework, but I can't idly sit by and not answer her questions.
"Mankind, what does it mean?" I repeat her question. "That's for me to know and you to figure out." How do you spell it? Look it up in the dictionary."
Obviously, we can't ignore their questions. In order to learn, kids need guidance from adults.
Teachers with 26 kids in a classroom can only do so much. Parents need to be partners in the process. It's not just important, it's critical.
Today, the standards and expectations for student achievement are much higher than when we were growing up.
Likewise, the distractions in our world which can steer children away from learning are much more powerful.
There's a lot I don't remember – I'm a little rusty on long division, I was never very good at verb conjugation and I'm sure I can't name the capitals of every state. However, I'm willing to learn again alongside my children.
Right now, I'm feeling pretty confident about first grade. I think we can handle it. It's sixth grade that's going to really throw me for a loop.