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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Need Homework Help

I open up my son's folder today to start on his backlog of homework. He is in first grade so one would think that his parents should be able to help him do his homework. Not this time, we are baffled. Like always we will muddle through and figure it out. Seriously though why is a first grader's homework something that makes us feel like we should be in kindergarten. When did first grade even deserve homework?

When I was in first grade I don't remember doing homework and I was even out of school for two weeks because of the chicken pox. I'm sure it started sometime in elementary school, but I don't think it was first grade. I vaguely recall being slightly anxious in 6th grade because I knew Junior High would have much more homework than I was used to.

When my son was in pre-kindergarten he had homework then too. Oddly enough there was no homework in kindergarten. Maybe it is an every other year thing? It isn't the homework itself that gets to us, it's the "I have no idea how to do it?". My husband and I both are high school graduates. I graduated from college, I am going to go back to school to get a degree in elementary education. I admit that many times I am completely baffled by my son's homework, usually math.

Now I know math is not my strong suit, but I did get a Regent's Diploma in it in high school. I tested out of having to take math in college so I must have some basic skill at it. Why then is a first graders math homework something that I dread? It humbles a parent to have their child explain how to do a math problem because we just don't get it.

He has three homework assignments to make up during this break. I find myself bartering with my husband so he will work on the homework with our son. We both try everything we can to get out of doing it because we know it will be torture. First we have to figure it out then we have to get our son to do it. The second part is often more difficult than trying to understand the cryptic terms that are used in the homework like calculator counts, Fact Triangles, flat, fractional parts (I think we used to call that fractions?).

It used to be getting your child to do the homework was the most challenging part of homework. Now when I have my own homework looming in the near future, I also have to learn how to do his. Hopefully getting my degree in elementary education will help me figure out how to do his homework. WHo knew going back to school in your forties was an asset in helping your child to do their homework.


  1. Blech. I could be wrong but that sounds like "Everyday Math" to me.

    For what it's worth, you're not! "Everyday Math" is one of the "new math" curriculums. They stress "mental math" and confusing, long winded algorithms versus the old fashioned reliable algorithms and memorization of basic facts that we learned by.

    One of the biggest problems with programs like "Everyday Math" is that parents aren't familiar with the algorithms and thus can't help the kiddos with their homework.

    If you want the honest only gets worse as the curriculum goes on. One of the reasons we homeschool is this math program.

    I don't have any other advice but good luck!


  2. It's good to know that I'm not stupid. I don't want it to get worse. I may have to hire a tutor for me (*gasp*).

  3. I agree it is crazy the amount of homework the kids are geting in the lower grades. And that new math sucks.