I have been doing a lot of math homework lately. With my daughter moving into the first grade, homework was inevitable.
It’s not a lot, don’t get me wrong, but it is math. Math and I don’t get along. I was so bad at math in high school that they begged me not to take it my senior year. I was given a wood workshop class and study hall instead. True story.
And yet, here I sit every night working on my tally marks, counting by ten, counting by five, counting clocks, counting thermometers.
And it’s a little fun. Shhh.
It’s weird being on the third side of the desk. Everyone sits on the student side to begin with. Some of us, like myself, sit on the teacher side. And some of us are fortunate enough to sit on the parent side.
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult at times. It is tempting to just do her homework for her. It’s easier. It’s faster. But then I would be robbing her of so much. I’d be robbing her of a good learning experience. Robbing her of a good teacher (and her teacher is, thankfully, awesome). Robbing her of developing independence.
And so I do math, or actually I help her do hers. I read directions. I ask questions. I check answers. But I let her do the work.
The third side of the desk is a challenge, and a joy. It’s an opportunity to recall all that was good and bad about that first seat at the desk, but, more importantly, it is an opportunity to witness something amazing — on a nightly basis.
A version of this first appeared on Tales from the Poop Deck.