“Can’t you just do it for me?”

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Is it just me or are children learning the tricks to getting out of school work earlier? My 6-year-old’s first grade homework is simple and she knows how to do it. I will sit with her at the kitchen table to be there if she is stumped on a word or two. I try not to tell her the words as she is reading the directions to her homework. Helping her sound out each letter and putting the sounds together to form the word is what I like to do with all her stuff. It’s my way of helping her learn more during homework time instead of just reading the directions out to her and telling her what to do. After we read the directions, I then ask her what it told her to do. If she didn’t understand, then we go over it again. I play dumb and act like she needs to tell me because I just don’t know. It sometimes makes her laugh when she has to tell me what to do for the homework problem.

So, after we get what the directions are and we begin the homework, she works at each problem with a little hesitation.

I ask her what’s wrong? She simply turns to me and asks, “Can’t you just do it for me?” My look of astonishment must have said something to her because she quickly came back with, “They will never know!”

WHAT!? Where is this coming from? I quickly told her that her teacher would definitely know that someone else did her homework for her. She pushes to find out how that’s possible. I didn’t know what to say except, “Teachers are smart! They will always know if you cheat, and I don’t want to get in trouble.”

I explain to her that what she asked was actually cheating and that cheating was not good at all.

It was when our 2-year-old came running through the kitchen — pushing his cars on the floor like he was on some high speed chase — that I realized he was distracting her. She wanted so very badly to be done with the homework quickly so that she could go and play. What am I to do? Daddy’s not home yet, so he can’t occupy the little one in another room. It’s hard to be distraction free without some help. This is when I realize that the single parents are much stronger than me. They don’t have the help that I have most of the time. I have always taken advantage of the time both of us parents are home so that we could separate the children so we could do homework distraction free.

This here is where the problem is. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe having the younger ones not doing homework should have always been doing their own thing so that the ones doing homework would be used to the noise and distractions. Am I right? I don’t know. It’s trial and error and I guess. But, if I can get her to do her homework and not pay attention to what’s going on around her, maybe she will be able to do the same thing in school and not be distracted by others talking to her or doing something else in the room. All I know is that I must get this under control and quickly so she doesn’t start asking someone else to do her homework for her.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of two rambunctious kids and a new baby!

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