April 11 16

I’m trying desperately to raise decent fairly independent humans.

I see all the blog posts. And then I see all the rebuttals to all the blog posts, telling me that the original posts are all wrong.

We should helicopter our kids. We shouldn’t helicopter them! We should tell our kids to hurry up. We should tell them to slow down! There is advice on how to feed picky eaters. Then there’s the complete opposite advice. We need to help them with homework. We need to stop helping them with homework. There are correct rules about bedtime. And then other correct rules. Instead of following the advice of any of these posts, I have pretty much followed the GUT RULE OF PARENTING since 2001 which means I follow a combination of my common sense and my gut. Sometimes my gut says Skinny Pop! But a lot of the time it leads me in a fairly okay direction.

I feel like I’m mostly winning because my kids say please and thank you without prompting, they all officially know how to do laundry, they still hug me sometimes, and they are mostly intact at the end of the day, save for Josh’s wonky finger from that time that he broke it and no one noticed.

Sure, there are misses. They won’t reuse a towel. They still can’t figure out the difference between the garbage, the blue bin, and the green bin even though I work in waste management. They are not the best sleepers. There’s some sass. They occasionally refuse to eat breakfast for dinner and tell me that “there’s no food in our food” even though pancakes and eggs are are perfectly food full of food so I don’t even know what they are talking about.

Yes, misses.

But there are more hits than misses and that’s not only good for a game of Battleship.

But my gut has some *issues* with HOMEWORK. Specifically, helping my children study and assisting with homework. I don’t really know where to draw the line between forcing them to do it all themselves and hand-holding them all the way through it.

On the one hand, I did homework. A lot of homework. You know, from the years 1984 through 2001. I feel like I have properly paid my dues. Shouldn’t I be allowed to forget how the nervous system works, non-important dates in Jewish history, which explorers landed in which place, and, well, ALL MATH? Surely I should be permitted to free up brain space for important things like Candy Crush and movie quotes.

But on the other hand, I can see how hard my kids are working. All three of them started new schools this year, adjusting to things like a dual curriculum, and also high school (hold me) and I can see that at times they struggle and could use some encouragement, some help, and someone to test them the night before big exams.

On the one hand, I want them to develop good study habits.

But on the other hand, don’t I need to teach them said study habits?

I am in possession of three very different children: One who can’t study, one who won’t study, and one who studies too much. All three could most definitely benefit from some sage advice from someone who did many decades of studying.

I suppose I probably want to fall somewhere in between. I have friends who help with everything — who do hours and hours of homework with multiple children every night. I don’t know how they do it. I would lose my mind, and my freedom. I also have friends who help with nothing —   who just send their kids out in the wilds of elementary, middle, and high school and don’t even know what they are studying or working on at all. I don’t know how they do it either. I would lose my mind, and my cool when they came home struggling.

Maybe my way needs to be similar to my Project Rule: I will {sometimes begrudgingly — But mom, I need to go to the dollar store to get glitter and construction paper rightthisminute} purchase project supplies, but don’t participate in any of the actual constructing or crafting.

I really don’t know what the answer is, to all of this homework stuff. Or to Emily’s algebra problem, for that matter.

I just know that I don’t think any blog post is going to help me, unless you’ve read one about 5th grade area and perimeter test prep.




  1. As a teacher, I ask that parents hold their kids accountable for getting it done (if it’s homework, they just need to try, they don’t need to have all correct answers especially if it’s the first time they’re practicing something new) and to send them to me when they’re struggling. There are too many tears (students and parents ha) when the child is struggling and it just leads to frustration for all involved.

    Comment by Alison on April 11, 2016
  2. I like Alison’s comment. I think that is a great approach.

    Also, I spit out my coffee at “Sometimes my gut says Skinny Pop!” because that’s always what my gut is saying.

    Comment by Kristabella on April 12, 2016
  3. I hate homework. My kids are the exact same age as yours.

    I have one who’s too lazy to study, one who can’t due to chronic illness and one who is too scared to study. I was the nerdy kid who never got help from parents or teachers and did loads of homework.

    I have the first 2 at high school (starts in Grade 7 here) and I’m struggling to get the boys to do anything.

    I feel your pain:((

    Comment by Heidi on April 13, 2016

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