Wednesday, January 22, 2014

High School Homework Battles: A Mother's Desperate Measure

Let's face it. No matter how we try to raise our children the same, they rarely turn out the same. I've learned to embrace the different personalities that lie within the walls of my home. What has been harder to embrace is why both of my sons hate homework while my daughter, husband and I, like to learn. I'm sure it has nothing to do with their sex. I've seen lots of boys who love school. One of my neighbors had brood of both boys and girls who always did their homework and went onto get college degrees in challenging subjects

Though my youngest son has ambitions of being a doctor someday, he has not figured out how his success in high school will prepare him for this future. No matter how many times I talk to him about his grades, he still manages to skirt around the homework issue. It's discouraging to log into the school's computers and see he is failing his physics class, not because he doesn't understand it, but because he has turned in homework for several weeks.

We have tried taking away electronic devices. We have made it clear he will not be able to sign up for driver's ed at school or get his learner's permit. All to no avail. When midterms came, my son still was not performing at the level I knew he could. I told him if he did not work hard to get his grades up, I would come to school and sit through the classes he was struggling with. In elementary school, I'm sure my children would have liked that. In high school, not so much. At a time when they are trying to assert their independence, the last thing they want is to have a parent babysit.

My son worked to bring his grades up, albeit not as hard as he could. By the end of the week, they weren't as high as I had requested. I knew I had to follow through with my threat.

I want to point out that I do not believe in shaming my children. I talked to my son and explained that to him. I told him the reason that I wanted to go to school with him was so that he could see that I cared enough about his education to give up my day off work. I told him the only thing we expect of our children is to try hard in school because that is their job at this point in their life. I promised I would not go out of my way to embarrass him and I did not.

 I followed through with my threat. I made sure to obey the school's policies. I checked in at the office and accepted their escort to my son's English class. I nodded my head at him when I walked into the classroom but didn't say anything in front of his friends. It went well. I discovered he has an awesome English teacher.  I even came to class prepared by reading Animal Farm. 

I attended three of his five classes. Next came math. I had to follow my son to his class. I told him I would walk behind him and pretend I didn't know him unless he tried to ditch me. If he did that,  I would call out for him and everybody in the halls would hear. Luckily, I didn't have to call out his name.

For my son's sake, I left for lunch and came back for physics. I had never met the physics teacher. She was more than happy to have me. I left her class with something I didn't know. It was impressed with what a great teacher he had. Her love for teaching showed in her enthusiasm and control of the classroom. Even if my son didn't learn anything from having me there, I left knowing he was in good hands.

In the end, I wanted my son to learn that it is his responsibility to bring home his homework. Though I didn't wear a sign announcing I was his mother, he knew it and it embarrassed him. At the same time, he learned some valuable lessons: When Mom says something, she means it. Education is important and turning in the work is half the battle. I'm sure he'll think twice the next time his grades drop knowing Mom might show up to class again.

What are some of the drastic measures you have had to take to get your child to turn in homework?


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