By definition, the word “homework” means “lessons to be studied or schoolwork to be done outside the classroom”. Lately I feel like the phrase “so your parents will feel dumb!” should be added.
I completely understand the genius behind Fox-TV’s show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. If you’re not familiar with this show, it is a game show where adults compete by answering questions directly from the textbooks of first through fifth graders. You may laugh, but it’s not so easy! I completed four years of college and have 25+ years of “real life” professional experience, but as my kids entered middle school, I noticed that my homework skills began to decline.
As much as I would love to help my daughter solve a pathagorean theorem problem or help her measure the angles of the equilateral triangle using her T-I 84 complicated calculator, that’s just not happening. I wish I knew the density of the troposphere or the solar altitude at the North Pole, but this is not my area of expertise! And the truth is, if I learned this at some point in my own school career, it has since been deleted from my brain. As my kids sit and study and learn, I often feel as if I am biting my tongue – and biting it hard. Part of me wants my kids to study and learn everything that they can while they are in school, but another part of me wants to tell them that in all my years, I haven’t found the need to know so much of this information that they are trying so hard to learn.
Night after night as I sneak over to the computer to Google some of their homework topics, I long for the good old days when I was able to help with homework. I was fantastic at coloring in the blue, red and yellow areas on a clown’s hat, or helping to find a picture of a bicycle in a magazine and paste it onto a colored piece of paper.
So to all of the parents out there with elementary school-aged children, enjoy helping with the addition, subtraction and coloring, but you may want to start brushing up on algebraic equations, earth science and the entire history of the world – that time will be here before you know it!
About Sheri Lapidus
Sheri Lapidus is a public relations executive with over 20 years’ experience. After working in various roles at NBC-TV, CBS-TV, In Style and Elle magazines, she founded www.MitzvahMarket.com, a free online resource for Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning families.