I’ve missed you guys.

After writing to you almost every day for the last 15 months or so, I took two weeks off for family, future planning, and sanity.

I actually didn’t mean to take two weeks off of writing. I meant to put out the newsletter this past week. But Lily misunderstood and announced we’d be taking a break through the seventh, and I took it as a sign. Sometimes the team knows best!

I hope you missed us too.

There is a ton we have planned for Chairman Mom this year (this week even!), and I’m going to tell you all more about it in the coming weeks and months. For now, let’s all sit back and feel comfortably smug about the fact that those of us who are working moms managed to survive winter break.

My kids headed back today with their homework “prize packs” miraculously completed. Given the abuse I took for reminding them to do their homework and the hours spent at the kitchen table saying, “I don’t know—check the math and see if it works out” or “It’s your story! What would you do if you went to the North Pole?” or “Don’t yell at me, I didn’t assign the homework!” I feel like I should get the prize from the classroom treasure chest.

I generally hate that my kids have so much homework given they are IN KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE and have had homework since transitional kindergarten. It’s the only thing, pretty much, that I don’t like about my kids’ school. I’ve read all that research you have about the diminishing returns of homework and how many schools are rethinking it. Making matters worse, my kids’ school day is from 8am-5pm and I don’t get much time with them in the evenings as is!

But I have to say, I am starting to weaken on this stance. It’s still a battle, but I have really seen Eli grow in his ability to take on a challenging task that he’d rather put off, because he knows it’s not going away. And I feel like Evie has built in good homework patterns from the start. Both are gonna help them in high school, college, and life. It’s opened up a lot of conversations about having to do things we don’t want. While their dad tries to pretend homework is fun, I admit it’s a bummer, but the teacher is in charge and life is full of things we may not think are fun or fair, but we gotta accept them.

I hadn’t really seen much in the way of academic breakthroughs, because my kids are usually ahead of their homework. But this past break, Eli really started to understand addition and subtraction in a new way doing his prize packet. I don’t know what it was, but doing a stupid “Snowman Subtraction” puzzle where he had to solve for nine over and over again so the damn snowman’s scarf could be the same color, it was like the logic of numbers clicked for the first time with him. He came running in the room and was like “Mom! Mom! Mom! I just realized a secret about 8’s! The second number will always be two more than the last number in the first number!” (A statement that would make no sense if I tried to point it out to him beforehand.)

With all the faddishness against homework, I’m reminded of how much I generally try to avoid parenting fads. An emphasis on “self esteem!” was later criticized for giving us entitlement. I give up. If the teacher wants homework, they’ve done this more times than I have and we’re gonna happily suffer through the homework. (I mean “happily” in that British sense, where people say “Look, I’m happy to do…” and then say something they really are angry about doing…I guess I’m still learning the lessons of homework at 43.)

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