When it comes to homework, most children do better with at least some assistance from their parents. However, shared parenting time adds another dimension to helping your child with their homework.
My current guest, Liv ended her marriage seven years ago and her children are now aged nine and six. While her youngest is only just starting to get homework, it’s part of every day life for her son and Liv knows she can’t count on help from her ex to support her son. Here’s Liv:
For my son it’s been a difficult journey. I don’t want to sound like I’m denigrating my ex, but dad has some issues with school.
I think that my son’s learning disability is genetic and it didn’t come from me. When it comes to homework I think that my ex is afraid to do it in some cases. I think that he just doesn’t understand it and he doesn’t want to look like he doesn’t know what he’s doing with the children. I think he’s more interested in making sure that the children have fun at his house than he is at enforcing homework or bedtime.
I have strict homework times, they do extra work at our house and they know they have to buckle down when they have to buckle down.
As an example of what happens, my son had to do a diorama. I don’t know if it was last year or the year before. I don’t think my son had a good grasp on what the teacher was asking and it went home to my ex and my ex said he was taking care of it. What ended going back to the school was a piece of paper with some stick figures on it. So we had to redo the whole thing.
Luckily the teacher was very understanding. But again I didn’t get a copy of the assignment so he told me that there was something that my son was doing at his house but he didn’t tell me specifically what it was. He had an extended deadline on it and they were working very hard on it. I ended up taking pictures of the before and the after. There were a few people that I showed them to and they were like “what?”
The problem again there was communication. My ex told me he was doing it and I trusted that he was doing and he hadn’t sought any clarification as far as what he was supposed to do. At that point my son was not as interested in doing his homework and didn’t have an understanding of his responsibility related to his homework.
It’s been very difficult with my son’s learning disability to figure out how he learns best. I’m feeling now that he’s getting it. He’s not quite at a grade 4 reading level he’s probably still at a grade 2 level but he will sit for an hour by himself and work his way through his homework now and not ask any questions if I’m dealing with something else unless he needs to.
For the most part, he’s doing really well. He’s buckling down and he’s doing it. I hope he’s doing that at his dad’s at well, I’m not sure. I know that the quality of the homework that’s going back when he’s at his dad’s is not as high as it is at my house. But all I can do is engender in the children a sense of responsibility. Their dad isn’t going to change and he’s not going to react if I email him and say, “Why didn’t get you get this done?” Or he will react and it won’t mean that he does what I ask him to do.
Follow Liv’s blog at Live By Surprise.
The Divorce Coach Says
I have to admit … I don’t miss those homework days and those multi-week, multi-step projects were the worst!
Shared parenting time demands a commitment from both parents to create an environment where your child can do their homework no matter which parent the child is with.
If historically you’ve been the homework monitor, it means being willing to take a step back and allowing your ex the opportunity to step up. It means accepting that they may have to learn the ropes, that they may not do it the same as you, and that there will be some bumps to start with but it doesn’t mean they can’t learn and it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of being the homework monitor.
If your ex has been the homework monitor then it’s time for you to do your homework and learn what’s involved in helping your child be successful.
- Do you have a place where your child can do their work?
- Do you have basic school supplies?
- Are you committed to creating a routine at home that makes homework a priority?
Not sure how to approach it? Feeling lost with the assignments? Contact your child’s teacher and ask them to help get you up to speed. And you could also ask your ex – acknowledging and appreciating their efforts to date will go far in securing their help now.
You and your ex have to commit to communicating with each other on homework updates especially on any assignments that have been particularly challenging for your child or that need to be continued at the other parent’s home.
Do make sure you’ve spoken with each of your child’s teachers about your situation and have asked for their co-operation and support in communicating with both of you about homework assignments.
Creating the right homework environment for your child doesn’t mean doing the work for them but it does include coaching your child on project management and time management skills and those skills can be particularly important if your ex is like Liv’s and isn’t willing or able to support your child. When your child is at their other parent’s they will need to take more initiative with their home. That may seem unfair but in the long run, it holds the potential for big paybacks.
Do you have any tips for working our ex to help your child do their homework? Please share them below.
Photo Credit: 2015© www.clipart.com