It’s nearly Easter and it seems like a long time since our New Year’s resolutions were made.  Have I lost the extra weight?  Have I phoned my parents more often?  Have I managed to tidy up my papers?  Have I spent more time with my daughter?  Have I started going to the gym?  Have I done some charity work?  Have I spent more time in nature?  Have I learned how to cook something different?

Well, some things I have accomplished and others just didn’t happen.  They’ll probably end up back on my list for next year.  Except for one thing.  I will have to face the truth and take the gym out of my list.  I’ll never be a ‘gym bunny’ and, perhaps, it would be more sensible for me to find an activity that I actually like and will fulfil my exercise goals.

Recently I came across a Facebook video that spoke about the promises we make as parents. Things like being home more often for helping with the homework, getting more involved with the school activities, packing a healthier snack or even just being able to get the kids into school on time.  There is always something we promise ourselves we will do better next year.

My child doesn’t go to school yet, but I have worked in schools and I saw the positive impact that a parent can make when they get more involved in their children’s school life.  I hope one day I will be that kind of parent.  With that said, now that I am a mother myself I dread the time my little one will go to school and I will have to help her with things I can’t remember anymore.  I have nightmares about when she will ask me a Maths question and I feel that frightening feeling of facing a huge abyss because I don’t know the answer.

I always had problems with Maths. I needed a lot of support when I was learning, and I remember my parents struggling to help.  Is this an endless cycle?  Did they also dread the homework time as much as I did?  I will surely ask my mum before I have to face this myself.  The days I had Maths homework were more like a family reunion as everyone gathered round to help me and I suppose that this is one of my best memories.  Although Maths was my weakest subject, somehow it had the power to bring us all together.

I wonder how many of you out there take time to help with homework.  I could easily see myself promising that in a couple of years. I want to be there for my daughter, even if I don’t know what to do and feel like I am failing miserably.

English is not my first language and I can see myself soon considering what options will I have to help her out.  I don’t want my daughter to struggle.

Have you been able to get more involved with homework?  What memories of your own childhood does it conjure up?

I have a good friend who is a teacher.  She teaches children in year one and out of curiosity I asked to see what kind of work they do.  I was really impressed and utterly embarrassed for not knowing how to answer some of the questions.

I could understand the questions, but I couldn’t answer them the ‘right’ way.

The way I learned when I was a child doesn’t work anymore.  This was a big eye opener for me.  Life accepts that you do things your way, but the worksheet from the Maths homework doesn’t.  Why?!

My friend later explained that most parents go through the same thing.  As adults we have forgotten that our mathematical knowledge was built in small blocks and that understanding each small step enables us to get to the answer.

I wish I had that type of mentoring back when doing my homework.  All I can do now is to promise:

  • I will be kinder to myself when my little one comes with a question I can’t answer.
  • I will ask her teacher what the logic behind the exercise is.
  • I won’t teach her the short-cuts to answer it quickly, because she needs to learn the processes that lead to that.
  • I will try as much as I can to be involved and that it doesn’t matter if I don’t know an answer, as long as I know where to look to find it.

So what promises have you made to your child that you want to work on?