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Go Ask Mom

Homework headaches

Posted August 31, 2010 9:06 p.m. EDT

Homework headaches. Most moms know what those are. For me, they're about teaching my nine-year-old daughter self-responsibility.

At what point do I stop hounding her and does she actually remember to do her homework on her own? I'm pulling my hair out way too early in the school year!

One night last week I had to work late. Before I left, I reminded my daughter at least twice to work on her project and that I expected her to do it when she came home from school. She said she would. In the early evening, I sent a text message to ask my husband to remind her about her homework. He did.

Sure enough, I came home and her homework wasn't done and it was nearly bed time. At that moment, I realized she was relying on me way too much - not to do her homework but to hold her hand through it.

I had two options: make her stay up late and get it done or send her to bed and give up on the assignment. The latter didn't sound appealing since it was only the third day of school. So I made her stay up late to finish it. Was it the right thing to do? I'm not so sure. Perhaps, the only way to teach that lesson is to send her to school with her assignment incomplete.

The homework fiasco ended up creating a ripple effect. I couldn't spend quality time with my other children. I didn't finish the remainder of my work that I reserve for after bedtime. I also didn't get anything done the night before, like pack lunches and snacks for the children to guarantee a smooth morning.

I told another parent what happened the next morning at the bus stop all the while feeling thankful I managed to get there on time and was wearing matching clothes. She recommended something like a daily conference call when the kids get home from school. On the call I could ask about homework assignments, see if they have any trouble understanding them and finally, remind them they're expected to get things done! I'm willing to give it a try.

I'm sure this won't be the only homework headache of the year. It looks like I'm going to have to keep a healthy supply of aspirin.

Aysu is the busy mom of three girls and assistant news director for WRAL-TV. She's making a mid-week appearance on Go Ask Mom. But you can usually find her here on Sundays.