Sunday, February 15, 2015

Helping Children Manage Their Homework

Image copyright 2008 Sue Rama
Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?
A Story of Divorce

By Carol Gordon Ekster
Illustrated by Sue Rama
Boulden Publishing
Weaverville, California, 2008

Reviewed by Laura Harting

A fourth-grader named Mark struggles with the challenges of being a responsible student while having parents who are divorced.  “Which house is my homework at anyway?” he wonders. Mark is afraid to come to class again without his assignment, as the words of his teacher saying “Fired! Fired! Fired!” ring in his ears. 

Written by a retired fourth-grade teacher, this nicely illustrated 24-page paperback deals with how to help children of divorced parents manage their school responsibilities.  Only an experienced and compassionate teacher could offer these helpful insights on ways to address this particular struggle for children. As Mark grapples with how to stay organized and remember his homework while living and sleeping in two different houses, he wishes he was a first grader again, like his brother Evan. The younger boy’s life seems so much easier, and Mark begins to feel resentful toward his parents who caused the whole problem by getting divorced in the first place. However, by the end of the book Mark becomes solution-focused. He begins to discover ideas for becoming more organized and responsible. Having mastered his homework problem, he even looks forward to hearing “Hired! Hired! Hired!” from his teacher.

This book is a good read for older elementary school-aged children on how to solve problems and manage their school lives while living in a shared custody arrangement. It is also a good reality check for parents and step-parents. Reading it might help these adults become more sensitive to the peculiar difficulties and challenges that young children face following a divorce. 
Laura Harting, LCSW sees clients
at her office in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

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