Every day after school, Big A has the same routine. After we talk about her day for a few minutes, she goes to her room to do her homework and she reads for twenty minutes. She has a homework packet that her teacher hands out at the beginning of the week. Inside this packe, there is a page for each day of the week, Monday through Thursday. They do the work throughout the week and turn it in on Friday.
Her teacher had them put together binders at the beginning of the school year. Inside, they have an agenda, some notebook paper, a pencil pouch, and various folders labeled for certain things. One of these folders is labeled ‘Homework’. Can you guess what that one is for? RIGHT-O! That’s the folder she’s supposed to keep her homework in throughout the week so she doesn’t lose it before Friday.
Does her homework ever make it into that folder?
It gets shoved into her binder, or her backpack, or she lays it on her desk. Never, ever does the child put it in her homework folder. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve told her to put it there. It.doesn’t.happen.
Now, let’s talk about last Thursday.
I’m sitting at my desk writing some content for my blog when Big A comes into my bedroom and asks me where her homework is. I have no clue. It’s not my homework, it’s hers. Plus, I told her the night before to put it in her homework folder. Of course, it never made it there.
“I can’t find it anywhere!”
“I told you to put it in your homework folder last night.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I thought I did.”
“Obviously you didn’t.”
“If I don’t turn it in tomorrow, Mrs. H will make me sit out at recess and do the whole thing all over again!”
“Then you better get lookin’!”
“I need help!”
“No you don’t. It’s your homework. Not mine. I told you to put it where it belongs last night and you didn’t listen.”
>Insert more whining and complaining about needing help finding it, and me refusing.<
She finally found it and completed it. After I checked it for errors, I gave it back to her and told her to put it in her homework folder. She said, ‘Ok,’ and took it downstairs to her room. Silly me, for not checking to see whether it made it there or not. Should I have to check? Or should I just assume that, at 8-years-old, she’s old enough to be responsible for her homework?
Fast-forward to the next morning. It’s time to walk to the bus stop and she’s about to walk out the door. I have to remind her to get her coat. She makes a trip downstairs, comes back with her coat in one hand, and (did you guess?) her homework in the other.
“Why is your homework not in your homework folder?”
“I set it on my desk.”
“That’s not where I told you to put it.”
>banging head against wall<
It was freezing outside, so I insisted she put her coat on. She put it on, grabbed her backpack, and walked down to the bus stop. Since the bus stop is at the bottom of our road (only about 3 houses down from ours), I stand at the end of our driveway and watch her get on the bus. Little A & Middle A are still sleeping at this time every morning, so I don’t want to go too far away from the house. I watch as the bus pulls up, she and the other kids at the stop get on, and they head to school. I walk inside, take off my coat, hang it up, and turn to walk up the stairs.
Guess what’s sitting there on the stairs?
The very same homework she was freaking out over the day before.
The very same homework she was so worried about having to re-do during recess.
She sat it on the step as she put her coat and backpack on, and neither of us realized she had left it behind.
So now I have this inner quarrel going on:
Should I take it to her?
Should I let her learn her lesson?
If I take it to her, I would be ‘the best Mom ever’ for saving her little butt. Right? But then, what if she makes a habit of it? She obviously isn’t being responsible with her homework in the first place. I don’t want her to think that she can just use me as a fall-back plan whenever she’s irresponsible, or when she makes wrong choices. On the other hand, I want her to know that I’m there for her when she needs me. Is this a ‘she needs me’ moment?
Parenting is hard.
Is there a right or wrong answer?
In the end, I chose not to take it to her. I know from our conversation on Thursday that she knew what the consequences were if she didn’t have her homework on Friday. If she was so concerned with having it, she would have put it in her homework folder, right? Then it would have been in her backpack and ready to take to school. Instead, she laid it on her desk and grabbed it on her way out the door the next morning.
Let’s hear from some other moms!
Do you agree with my choice?