What I learned this week:

This week's lessons

1.  My son would rather be hungry during the day than pack a snack/lunch for school.  He specifically asks me to bring his lunch that he made when I pick him up as he’s going to be hungry.  Apparently he doesn’t want to take that extra step of putting his lunch/snack in his backpack.  This is all fine when I pick him up from school, however there are days that I don’t pick him up and those are the days he chooses to pack his lunch.

2.  My son prefers that I manage his homework schedule.  With fabulous insight from Vicki Hoefle, I was able to have a conversation with my son about homework.  The conversation went like this:

Me “Rip when we get home I would like to have a conversation with you about how to manage your homework.”

Rip “Can we have the conversation now?”

Me “Yes.  I want to know how you would like to manage getting your homework done each week.”

Rip “I don’t know.”

Me “I would love to have your input.  However, if I get to decide how your homework is managed, it is going to go like this:  As soon as you get home you will do all your homework.  Once the homework is done, I will check it for errors.  If there are any errors, you will get to correct them.  Then I will watch you put your homework in your folder, your folder in your backpack.  At that point you will be able to play, have snacks.”

Rip “Sounds good to me.”

Me “Ok”

As soon as we got home, we pulled out the homework, he got it done and all was good.  I’m not really sure what to do with this, but it is only day one.  Interesting things may happen next week.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Homework Strikes Again!

My blood pressure skyrockets as soon as I hear the word ‘homework’.  Pretty sure it’s going to be the death of me.  And no, I don’t have homework, but my son does.  It’s not hard homework.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s not even a lot of homework.  But it is homework, and it’s homework that isn’t getting done.  That statement right there has me getting anxious.

Homework has been a struggle since day 1 of Rip’s school career – all of 1.5 years now.  Yes, every week in kindergarten there was homework.  Every week Kirk and I, the very responsible parents that we are, fought with Rip about getting the homework done.  And we did this most, if not all, of last year.

This year, I started out the same way.  “Yes Rip, you can have a snack, as soon as you get your homework done”  “All you have to do is 2 pages of homework each night and you are good to go”  “Playtime is for after homework time” I even started recruiting Rip’s friends to tell him that he had to do his homework.  No matter what, it inevitably ended up in some kind of a fight.

Finally a few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine about homework.  In my head I know what I want to do:  let Rip figure this out.  It’s his homework, he gets to figure out when/how he wants to do it.  He’s in first grade…it’s not about the homework, but about what it’s going to take for Rip to want to participate fully in his learning experience.  We need to get this right now so when he hits the tougher years, this won’t be a struggle.  Got it.  Sounds so good in theory.  So frickin’ hard in practice.

My friend, who has gone through this exact same thing with her son, reminded me about the ABCDE exercise.  Quite a simple name, but not a simple matter.  Basically, I have beliefs about doing homework. And I DO!  Based on my experience, I believe that if Rip doesn’t start doing his homework now, he’s going to do exactly what I did – cheat my way through high school, have not idea what to do with a college education, be rather unfocused and scattered with regards to a career.

What the ABCDE exercise does is take all those beliefs I have (based on my experiences) and rewrite the story into one that makes more sense, something that is more reasonable, something that will let me focus on observing Rip and figuring out what it will take for Rip to want to participate more fully in his education.

Serious Irresponsibility

 

So my old story is all about Rip not learning or taking advantage of school and just being mediocre at whatever he ends up doing.  Being unfocused in life. Being irresponsible.  Being lazy.  Feeling like he could have done more with his life if his parents had just shown him the way.

 

 

My new story goes a little like this:

  • Rip, smarty pants that he is, does not like to do his homework after school because he is dog tired.
  • He really needs some down time to play and get re-energized after a long day of hard learning.
  • I know he is learning at school because of everything he tells us.  As a matter of fact, he is learning stuff that we didn’t even know about!
  • Who knows what he will do for a career but Rip LOVES to learn so I’m sure he will be successful at whatever he decides to do.

Now my next step is to really absorb this new story and start noticing:  what he does really well, what is his learning style.  Once I can really take hold of the new story,  I believe that we may be able to move forward and I can stop worrying about whether or not homework is going to kill me.