Now the kids are back at school – or in my case, two just starting school – the homework issue is back on the agenda. Amazingly, even in day one of reception class my twins have homework, albeit the fairly untaxing task of their parents reading set books with them.
As a veteran of homework, both with my oldest and as a child myself, it is clear to me that dads often play a pivotal role in getting it done, especially in the technical subjects we supposedly know more about, such as maths and science.
Well, right – up to a point.
As my own experiences with my father taught me, a close family connection is not necessarily conducive to, let's say, an optimum learning situation. If you've ever taught your wife to drive, or watched your dad teaching your mother where third gear is, you'll get the picture (note: reverse the sexes if at all offended).
I'm pretty good at maths – I should be, as I did some at university level. And therein lies the trouble, for I find it most difficult not to get exasperated by a lack of basic understanding. I insist on going back to first principles – with my oldest son this means virtually becoming Pythagoras or Euclid every time we look at a triangle.
'Why don't you just give the answer dad?' says my son. Why not? It would make my life much easier, and I could go and watch Eastenders. Unfortunately for him, I don't like Eastenders, so I'll ask him again for the answer to a problem he thought he'd understood 20 minutes ago.
The upshot of all this is that we have rarely completed any homework session where help has been requested, but my view is that I'd rather one lightbulb was switched on than the whole pitch remain in darkness.
I guess I shouldn't be so demanding. But it's what my dad did to me and I turned out OK. All right, OK in principle.
Do you help with homework, or let them get on with it for an easier life?
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