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Do Kids Need Facilitation or Direction? Homework and Baby Echidnas

By Catherine Sim - 4th August 2010

Can’t spare much time to write today. I have four assignments due: a chapter of maths to complete, an essay on why skateboarding is not a waste of time and a novel to finish reading before Monday.

Did I say I? I meant we (and not the royal one either).

Having four children at school is a bit like enrolling in leisure learning. Astronomy- Monday. Philosophy-Tuesday. Biology-Wednesday. I am becoming an expert on everything and could probably win a pub trivia night if only I could finish all this helping with homework and get out! (Bet you don’t know what a baby echidna is called?)

Miss Year 9, let’s call her Princess B, is usually reasonably independent with her schoolwork apart from the odd spelling query, so we were all a little surprised to witness a meltdown of major proportions over a science assignment that had somehow slipped under the radar and was due the next morning. This required an assembly of assorted bits unable to be found in our house full of bits. It necessitated hitching up the Royal Mitsubishi and trawling through other houses full of bits at 9 o’clock that night. King of Misrule was accommodating, but not too happy.

I meanwhile, serious glasses on nose, tried to nut out integers, research Adelie penguins and draw a moon chart.

It’s so very tempting to leave them all to it and settle in to watch Top Gear with a glass of wine but of course I also want them to succeed. There lies my dilemma. How to help them complete their tasks without taking over and colouring in the heading? (So tempting to my artist’s brain…) Kids actually do need that bit of stress that comes with having things they must do, and I need to lose that misplaced sense of personal failure that comes when they don’t do them.

Perhaps kids need facilitation not direction and maybe I need to get out and go to a trivia night occasionally and stop colouring in that heading…
.
By the way, a baby echidna is called a Puggle. Cute huh?

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