I have a very unhappy 16 yr old. He is struggling with honors English and feeling pretty hopeless right now. The class is reading a book by William Faulkner. My son says that he does not understand the language and cannot comprehend the themes etc that he needs to be able to write about for the critical analysis that are required for the class. He has a presentation hanging over head for which he is completely ill prepared.
Despite the encouragement and suggestions that Tom and I have made, he continues to feel defeated and wants to skip the presentation and take a zero. I feel for him. There is nothing worse than watching your peers excel at something when you already feel grossly inadequate.
He is stressed from work as well. The past two evening shifts have been much busier than he has been accustomed to. Also, some of the customers haven’t been so nice which has added to his frustration. At the same time, his “band” has decided to audition for the school talent show and my son said that he would make sure the drum set got to school.
I am feeling burdened for him and wish that I could take away his pain and frustration. I have a hard time not feeling as though I have set him up for failure. As parents we have not been very good about keeping strict rules about homework time and electronics. We have let the kids get away with underachieving.
At the same time, I believe that the work that is expected of children today is a bit out of control. My coworker told me today that her fifth grade daughter had the work “indignant” included in her vocabulary assignment. I’m indignant that grade school children would be expected to have a vocabulary that some college kids lack.
God, what to do with kids and homework. As I sit here Patrick is watching tv. He had to look up one more source tonight for his history day project. Meanwhile my nephew who is also an 8th grader was being asked to find 100 facts for his history day paper which should be close to 8 pages. Eight pages for an 8th grader. Unreal.
What are parents to do?