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.

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#Fail!

#Fail!

Enhancing Relationship Strategies #Fail!  Wouldn’t call it an epic fail, but fail nonetheless.

The morning started out all good and then I decided I wanted to get Einstein Bagels for breakfast.  Everyone had woken up on their own WAY early so in my mind, there wasn’t going to be a problem getting ready and out he door in time.  I tried to set the stage:

Mom:  Hey kids, if we can get ready by 8am we can eat breakfast at Einstein Bagels.

Kids:  Yea!!  Alright!

So, there you go, we’re all in agreement and there are 45 minutes left for the kids to get ready.  They were dressed already so really, it shouldn’t be a problem.  AND, right at that moment I should have pulled out the tape to help keep my mouth shut.  I didn’t and here is how I failed:

Reminding:  reminded Rip that he was responsible for making his lunch/snack;  reminded Rip that we would not be coming home after bagels so if he wanted to take his backpack, he needed to get it ready before we left;

Not keeping the agreement:  45 minutes came and went.  I did not let the kids experience the consequence of not getting bagels when they weren’t ready by 8am.  It was at least 8:15 before we were out the door.

Why did I fail?  Because I was HUNGRY!  And I REALLY wanted Einstein Bagels.  I absolutely wanted that bagel so bad that I let all my interfering strategies get in the way.  And in the end, I was so dis-pleased with myself, the bagel didn’t even taste all that good.  Ugh!

Ok, I always have to find the positive in any situation – just my nature.  So here is why this day wasn’t an Epic Fail:

1.  Rip is putting his lunch and snack together on his own.

2.  Rip is remembering his backpack on his own.

3.  I am continuing to learn lessons about myself.  Which includes when I want something, I will use/do whatever to make sure I get what I want.  And when I don’t get it, I tend to pout.

4.  I was still able to observe and take note of where the kids are in their skill development and where they still need to go.

Ok.  Time to move on to the next day.  Hopefully I’ll reach for the tape before it’s too late…