Every working parent has some sort of schedule which maybe daily, weekly or monthly and a calendar filled with meetings and time allotted to do their actual work. Now, where do children’s homework fit in?
We were going through annual budgeting cycle and scanning through multiple worksheets and ensuring all aspects of the potential expense threads were being considered in the budgets. Multiple calls scheduled during the day and night (accommodating global teams). Pretty much, I had planned for the week ahead that it would be busy and had cooked ten different dishes and filled my refrigerator. Grocery shopping included snacks and drinks for kids when they returned from school. Everyone at home was alerted that I would be having a busy week.
My daughter (then 2nd grade) comes home with an interesting school assignment.
Roll one red dice and one white dice and add up the numbers till you reach 1000.. that was the activity my daughter got as homework 🙂
I was speechless!
Now, she had to draw 3 columns on the sheet and note the values on the Red dice, White dice and the totals.
Was she supposed to have row totals or cumulative totals? No idea – she was to figure it out. And inherently, this is where a parenting conversation becomes critical 🙂
There would need to be two ways in which it can be done. I need to share what are the two ways and help her go through at least 5 dice rolls in each method, let her analyze the options and whichever option is easier and help her make the choice.
Every time the dice was being rolled, some team member calls from office seeking clarification and although the call and the clarification takes 1-2 minutes max, the flow is lost in my daughter’s mind and we need to reset from the beginning. After a few hours of struggling to keep my sanity across both activities, she figures out that she will include a fourth column which would help her easily complete the activity.
Now, I was to help add the numbers (remember, 2nd grader – so no calculator allowed) 🙂
On the office front, the excel sheets had an autosum at the end and the numbers were 5-6 digits in each cell, and here I was manually counting with her on the other side single and two digit numbers!
No wonder, it was a long and memorable night for our whole family!
While parents do not need to get involved with homework and we try to let our children do their work themselves, there is an aspect of parenting that is involved in discussing what they want, helping them make their choices, iterating the processes with them, making them figure out what is simpler or harder, having patience, appreciating their efforts and small wins, and being there for them during their stepping stones to get there! Even though we are multi-tasking and grow good at it while working (and working from home), retaining our sanity during conflicting priorities across work and home is an art that every parent at some point of time in life tries to master!
Reminded of a piece of advice from a Russian parent