Some people think that helping the kids out with homework is actually going to be one of the highlights of parenting. These tend to be the sort of people who want to have kids but haven’t had kids yet. Other parents literally dread the days in which they are going to have to seemingly go back to school for themselves, but this time, they will have that much more responsibility and no gold stars. I think all parents who actually try this out with their kids should just give themselves gold stars and be done with it. If you’ve ever tried to explain the fundamentals of multiplying fractions with your kids while they were trying to get you to show them YouTube videos instead, then you definitely deserve all of the gold stars in the world.

For me, the hardest part of helping the kids with homework has always been getting them started in the first place. My kids are bright, but getting them to actually do work of any kind has always been a huge uphill battle for me and for their teachers. They may have inherited laziness genes from me. If so, those genes are no longer active for me, because my environment has been thoroughly changed by parenthood, and genes respond to environmental changes. I was just talking about that the other day when I was helping my daughter with her homework. I was drilling her for a test. In fact, this illustrates one of the ways in which I’ve managed to get through this part of the job as a parent.

I try to turn homework into a game. I say that this is for the sake of the kids. I’m trying to make homework fun so they will recognize that learning is, after all, a lot of fun as long as you decide to do it correctly. However, I’m ultimately doing this for my own sake. Doing homework with the kids would just be too boring otherwise. I don’t want to have to go over a dozen problem sets involving fractions with my elementary-aged son. I don’t want to go over algebra problems with my high school-aged daughter. My other daughter, who is currently in middle school, manages to split the difference between them in all of the worst ways. I won’t learn anything when working on her homework with her, but it isn’t as mindless as helping with something like long division, which miraculously hasn’t somehow gotten any harder since I was growing up.