What Happens When Homework is Forgotten? Parenting 101

I sent my son to school today. And his homework was not complete. Again. Seventh-grade pre-algebra is the bane of his existence.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

He forgot to read his assignment book and complete all the homework.

I feel like the proverbial saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” I have been teaching my son for years to do his work. I have taught him to listen to his teacher, read through the assignments, and complete them.

Through various methods of rewarding and punishments, I have tried to reinforce the idea that he needs to pay attention. Gone are the days that I can offer Skittles Candies to help encourage him. Now my options are him losing playing time on his phone or extra cleaning chores.

The choice is still his. He has to decide if he’s going to do it.

Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference. Lou Holz

His tearful, blue eyes look up at me and said, “I don’t know how I’m going to face [my teacher].” He realized how much trouble he was in. Extra assignments, bad grades, and loss of privileges were coming his way, and he knew it.

“Own it like a man!” I said to him. “Tomorrow, when you get to your class immediately go to your teacher and apologize. Tell her it was your fault and you messed up and ask for forgiveness.”

“Admitting that you have done wrong is the best way to deal with this.” I said

This is the heart of parenting. While my initial instinct is to shield my son from the wrath and furry of his teacher, I cannot do this. Adequately preparing my son for life means I let him fall and get in trouble with his teacher.

I let him be accountable for his actions and I teach him how to apologize correctly. By allowing himself to be accountable for his mistakes, he will learn humility and responsibility for his actions. This will help him to be a better adult in the future.

Seventh grade Pre-Algebra is hard. I know! I still remember trying to figure out what “X” meant. Life is a harder schoolmaster than his teachers ever will be. There are no letter grades in life.

The rewards are easy to focus upon. Everyone likes to remember the “A” on the report card or a high-five when a job is completed correctly. A bonus on the next paycheck is a wonderful incentive to complete a task. Positive rewards like these are good.

However, negative rewards or consequences are also there. Doing taxes incorrectly means heavy fines from the IRS. Speeding through a school-zone could mean that you have a ticket or a child is hit. Getting angry and throwing punches could mean you are arrested.

“A brunette mom affectionately cuddling her young toddler son, who is sat on her knees” by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Today’s lesson is a painful reminder that I have to let my child stand on his own accomplishments. I hope he learns that forgetting to do his assignments carries painful consequences.

I hope he remembers that his Momma still loves him. Love is not always a gushy sweetness. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it forces both of us to remember our roles in life.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Frederick Douglas

My job as a parent is to teach and prepare him for life in the future. His job is to be a good student and learn to do his school assignments correctly. When we both do our roles well, then we will succeed. Parenting isn’t easy, but neither is flunking seventh grade.