Back-to-School Adjustments and Homework Hassles. How’s it Going?

September 21st, 2011

I can’t be the only parent who feels like once the kids go back to school, I’ve got a new, demanding job.  Demanding jobs are great, but I already have one!

It’s a lot to deal with, whether you’re

  • helping a child adjust to the new teachers’ styles;
  • figuring out which battles to fight and which to let go;
  • coaching a kid through an ever increasing homework load;
  • stumbling upon an MCPS website mention that the school year has been shifted by one day (with no other notice!); and
  • the list goes on…

Tweeting about Homework Battles

I don’t remember things being like this when I was a kid. Then again, my mother was a divorcee, a working Mom who didn’t have time to provide much oversight of my school activities.   I was a latchkey kid before the term was invented.

There are plenty of kids like that here in Montgomery County, Maryland, where 44,000 students qualify for the free lunch program.  But how do they cope?  As early as the second grade, homework assignments become so complex that it’s a frequent topic of conversation in even the most upscale neighborhoods.

The school system does provide a “homework hotline,” accessible via cable TV — which we don’t have! —  or through the computer — which we try to avoid, due to its distractions.

For many in the more affluent parts of the county, the solution to homework hassles is private tutoring. An increasing number of parents shell out $45 for group tutoring and $75 or more for individual tutoring. And it’s encouraged by some of the teachers (although officially they’re not supposed to suggest tutors, I hear).  I know this is going on nationwide. My friends in San Diego tell me about their “homework nanny.”

And my online grumbling about homework hassles did lead me to a wonderful site called School Family, along with some much needed morale support on a rough day.

How’s back to school going for you? Leave a comment and share!


8 Responses to “Back-to-School Adjustments and Homework Hassles. How’s it Going?”

  1. Bethesda Locavore on September 21, 2011 11:55 am

    We’re just starting kindergarten now and it’s definitely an adjustment! Right now we’re just trying to master the new routines of packing lunches (no-waste lunches, of course) in the morning, getting out the door in time, establishing the routine of getting homework done cheerfully in the afternoon, having some downtime, avoiding exhaustion, etc. since I know it’s only going to get more complicated.

  2. Lynn on September 21, 2011 12:41 pm

    Yes! And it’s amazing to me that kindergartners now have homework too. I hope they keep it fun for the little ones! Hope your school year goes smoothly….

  3. Beth on September 25, 2011 4:41 pm

    Yep – 2nd grade just started and emotions are running high. I think it was more obvious in Kinder, because he just came home and fell asleep. So much mental energy expended during the day, sleep was the best thing.

    By 1st grade he had a little more stamina for the new expectations and environment, so it wasn’t until Thursday’s that he’d need to sleep after school.

    Now, in 2nd, he doesn’t get so wiped out, but he’s pretty clearly tired and that translates to a short fuse and lots of emotional drama. We do seem to be getting past the adjustment period though. Things are calming down.

  4. Lynn on October 10, 2011 8:29 pm

    Glad to hear it! :)

  5. mcmilker on October 11, 2011 10:34 am

    I hear you! 4h grade is a complete bear! I too wonder how in the world children without support at home for one reason or another get by!

    On the bright side, I have found that there is much more support than when I was in school. All of the textbooks seem to have a website with additional resources for each chapter – games, practice tests, etc. Any concept a child “doesn’t quite get” can be reviewed from a different perspective by someone who posted a YouTube video on the concept (excellent for math) and I find lots of teachers and school districts post their notes on the web for each chapter…so one way or another I can figure out what he is supposed to know.

    That, of course doesn’t solve the time issue…

  6. Lynn on October 11, 2011 3:38 pm

    I’m sure they’ll come up with an app for that….(The time issue!) :) You have textbooks in CA? We get worksheets galore here in Montgomery County. Can’t say I’ve seen any textbooks come home so far!

  7. Stimey on October 26, 2011 6:47 pm

    We are starting to get homework that requires my kid to make inferences in reading—the exact thing that we pay a speech therapist a ton of money to help him with. Things could get ugly before too long.
    Stimey´s last blog post ..(1) The Great Flooring Fiasco of 2011 (2) Yay! (3) OMG

  8. Lynn on October 29, 2011 1:13 am

    Yikes. It’s a strange situation, really…on the one hand, the schools aren’t demanding ENOUGH…on the other hand, they’re demanding TOO MUCH. I don’t envy the administrators, but I DO understand why so many parents opt to exert more influence over their kids’ education – whether by home schooling, tutoring, or private or parochial education.

    I’ll be thinking of you next time I deal with HW hassles, Stimey! :)

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