Friday, April 9, 2010

Homework Equation

With a high schooler and a middle schooler in the house, we've been having more of our fair share of late night homework sessions lately.  With the younger kids, I'm a stickler for getting all their work done before playing, but with the older kids I feel like I need to let them have a little more freedom with their time management.   One child, however, seems to fiddle around all afternoon only to break out their thick stack of homework after dinner.   Sadly, it reminds me of myself when I was a student.

 The last couple of weeks have been particularly bad with some end-of-quarter projects coming due.  A couple of times have found her up well past mid-night plugging away at some power point presentation or history timeline.  

In one way I feel so bad for her getting so little sleep on a school night, but on the other hand I feel like she's brought in on herself with her poor prioritizing habits.

So, now, on the parenting end of this equation, I have a dilemma.  Ideally I prefer to be up when my kids are up---to be there to lend support by trying to keep them on task, being there to bounce ideas off of, and being there to tell them that it's good enough to go to bed.  I guess, I just like letting them know I'm there.

I have a problem though.  With the arrival of early morning seminary into our household, not only do I have very limited function after about 10:30pm, but I also get kind of mean and surly when I'm up late at night.    

So, now I I go to bed and leave them to their own devices way into the wee hours of the morning to finish their project, knowing that I'll be nicer and happier the next day?  Or do I sacrifice my own sleep (and my next day's functionality) and stay up with them to show support?  I truly feel torn.

What do you do in your house?   What about when you were a student?



Chelsey said...

Yay! I am the first to comment on your blog which usually has a long line of responses! Poor Mom and poor Cami! We haven't had this happen at our house very often...maybe 2 or 3 times but I usually ask her if she needs me to stay up. If it was happening a lot, like 2 or 3 times a week and I had seminary, I think the choice would already be made. SLEEP!!! Maybe I would tell her, "I wish I didn't have to go to bed so I could help you!" or "If you start on this sooner I would be around to help." I don't know. Maybe Cami likes being up late and can think better then. Managing time is a practiced art and there are very few that have this down especially the almost teenagers. I wonder how many adults are really good at it. :)

Denise said...

I was a burn the midnight oil kind of gal. I stayed up and and had some pretty late nights. My parents went to bed at like 8:30 pm cause they both had to be up by like 4:30 am.

It didn't bother me that they went to bed. It wasn't like I was expecting them to help me with my homework.

I expect my kids to do their homework right when they get home. Maybe that will change as they progress, but we don't let them do anything else until the homework is done.

I say you should go to bed. If she needs you she can always wake you up, right? : )

ps. FABULOUS photo.

Andrea said...

My kids aren't there yet, but back when I was the student my mom always stayed up late with us... sometimes even until 3AM. Then the next morning she'd be up early too. Now that I'm a mom I wonder how she was able to run on such little sleep and still manage. It's a mystery. I wish I could do that.

Good luck on your dilemma.

melissa said...

I remember those late night school days!! growing up I not only managed school but a full time job on top of that. I would go to school until 2:30 and then work from 3-10 (sometimes 12) at one or two jobs. then I would come home and start homework, if I was too tired I'd take a short sleep and be up around 2 or 3 in the morning finishing the homework just to start the day again. It was hard and one of the reasons why I ended up moving back to my Mom's in VA because I couldn't live up to my Dads expectations of me. but back to your question, my parents didn't stay up with me but I always knew, with my Mom, if I needed her help, she'd be there.

homework is loaded onto these kids though nowadays... I used to nanny for a family and their kids would come home from a full day school only to have 2 or 3 more hours of homework. they were frazzled.

good luck with your decisions!


Charlene said...

We haven't reached that point either. It's nice to see what others are going through BEFORE I do and get all these great ideas!! My parents didn't stay up with me when I did homework. I actually remember a time that I had to stay up late and do a last minute project and my mom wouldn't help me and wasn't in her best mood to be around. Needless to say, I didn't ever do that again!!

Holly said...

I do not have any advice, but I am glad my kids are not at the homework stage yet. You are wonder mom!

alexandra said...

I just left the best comment but somehow forgot to post it (probably because it's sooo late and my brain's stopped working).

Anyway, my now much shorter advice is that you help Cami prioritize her time so she's not staying up so late (or at least as late). In a couple of years when she starts high school and has to start waking up at the crack of dawn to go to seminary, she'll thank you for it.

Linzie said...

My mom always went to bed. I never felt like she was "leaving me out to dry". It did teach me responsibility and also helped me become independent and to know that I can do it by my self if needed. You are such an amazing mother, I will miss you and your family when we move.
Linzie Smith

Deanne said...

I always stayed up late to do homework too and actually preferred to do it alone in my room. I never felt slighted because my mom didn't stay up with me. If I wanted her help I made sure I asked for it early in the night when she was willing and able.

Mirien said...

This has been happening around here since Alyssa was in 6th grade--she's now in 10th. For awhile I stayed up with her, feeling like I had to give her company and moral support. And I still got up at 5:45am to exercise. Now, I'm older and wiser. I usually just check in with A and E if they're still awake and ask if they need anything before I go to bed. Occasionally I regret asking when they say, "Yeah, Mom, could you cut out all of these word strips for my science fair board that's due tomorrow?", but most nights I go to bed, happy to be done with high school and college.

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