It's Not Homework: 4 Ways to Complete it with a Kid
So who else has kiddos entering school for the first time this year and you are all of a sudden totally blind-sided, like texting pedestrian through a cross-walk on Broadway blind sided, and you hear that song, “the thrill is gone…” faintly in the back of your head as you pull away after drop off every morning? Oh, I’m being dramatic then?
Well, I KNEW life would be different after she started Kinder. I KNEW our schedules would be disrupted. When I say schedules, I mean the waking up when we wanted to and eating breakfast at 9 ish, and finally getting out of our pajamas around 10 ish and heading downtown to try ice cream or do a splash pad and then head home for a late lunch. I have had to set an alarm clock for the first time in 6 years. I know I probably shouldn’t be admitting these things aloud, blasphemous, but it’s true! It’s an early wake up, 6 AM- that’s super early in my, not-a-morning-person-ever, world.
I know, I know, it's not about me, it’s about them. Them! Their schedule, their learning, their school, their curriculum, their activities, their growth, their new stages. Okay, yeah, its definitely sunk in, NOW, after starting Kindie 6 years later, that when you have kids, its ALL about them. Sharing because this may be hard to grasp for some of you like it has been for me. It’s been an adjustment. Someone who used to bike from her apartment downtown to Larimer Square, have a leisurely coffee and egg sammy and go to school and then have time and energy to actually “entertain” or have a couple people over for dinner once in a while. That girl does sort of die once you have kids. Sorry. If you are pregnant and in a fuzzy, dreamy baby bubble, tune out and scroll down for cute photos of such life shaker-uppers as I discuss. Husband and I always chuckle when we watch HGTV House Hunters and one big MUST-have that always comes up for couples when finding a house is “space for entertaining.” WHAT?! WHO?! WHEN?!
Dinner parties may be a challenge for me to plan and be pumped for at this stage, honestly. Another thing that comes with school age children to sneak even more time away from you and steal just a little extra energy from you, slowly and unknowingly, like that sliver of cake you discreetly cut the end off of, but then keep slicing and eating every time you pass it in the kitchen? Well, the start of school, while exciting for some, can seem daunting and monotonous and basically the end to a really good era. I can see how some just decide to keep having babies to stay in that blissful baby buzz, but alas, they all end up growing up on us. School work and flyers, requests for yet even more of your time for volunteering, handouts for fundraisers, and brochures on this contest or that competition, they keep trickling home in the back pack, daily, and just like those added pounds from those sneaky cake bites, become heavy, added weight, you didn’t really see coming until. And also that homework.
Turns out, my daughter was NOT a fan of homework when I first presented it to her either. I truly believe it was in my whole delivery and presentation of it. I think I came to her with it, late in the day, she was exhausted, after a FULL Sunday, (kids must experience Sunday night blues too on some level) and I think my exact line was, “Okay, time to do your homework now. We gotta get this homework done.” It was immediately met with rebuttal and TEARS. “NO! I don’t want to do homework!” I feel like that terrible mom who secretly agrees that homework is pointless and a waste of time and completely UNNECESSARY in KINDIE, and it probably just oozed out my pores as I brought out THE folder, so this was my fault for a bad introduction to homework. Sort of like, when you taste something bitter or sour and awful and then you offer it to a friend to try. Like those War Heads! Remember those?! Or are they called Zotz?
I put the homework away that night. I think I re-introduced it a couple days later. The way her class does homework is with a Bingo sheet, and your child gets to choose at least four squares to be completed, over the course of a week. Not bad. Okay, we can do this. Let’s do this! (That was me self-talking and pumping myself up.) So here are a few things I do that have helped turn that awful corner on the big H.W. hump in our house that might be helpful to you.
No mention or speak of homework on the weekends. My rule. Weekends are for FUN and relaxation.
When I pull out the Bingo sheet after lunch, lessons are still somewhat fresh in her head from the day. Even though she is TIRED, we do what we can, a little here and there throughout the week to reemphasize what she has learned and it really does get done naturally anyhow from working with them in a genuine and focused way. I have found for us the best time is right after lunch when we are at the table and all of our supplies are right there.
Never call it homework. Or, try not to call it homework. Instead I approach it like, “Hey let’s work on some Bridges math,” or “Let’s practice your spelling words.” Just the fact of calling it homework brings on a case of dreads much like a tummy rumble directly after eating those bean burritos from Taco Bell I love so much…Seriously. Why do I crave those when husband works late nights? YUM. Anyway, think of a positive, productive, if you can, fun, way of phrasing it.
Reward. I felt right away that I had to do something to turn the ship, and mood, around about homework, so I used sticker rewards as a way to motivate her to complete a square. What is it with stickers that kids LOVE? I DO remember I had a fondness for those incredible puffy plastic stickers. I am a sucker for those when I find them. I don’t often use food or candy as a bribery or motivation but stickers is what I had on hand and surprisingly was just what we BOTH needed. Dollar Tree has a HUGE selection of stickers if you need new ones to surprise them with.
Get siblings involved! They both have work books and we have been doing work books and flash cards and different activities as a family since the beginning with both children, so homework has been an extension of that. It’s really cool to see the younger one REQUEST to do her workbook! Today we had gone to the library and I was in a huge hurry- we ran over on time at the park earlier, I met an incredible momma there though! At the library, I had another great conversation with an adult, this time the librarian who exchanged author and illustrator suggestions with me with great passion and enthusiasm, and I was completely receptive and bounced energy right back that again I was on borrowed time before picking up my Kinde. Needless to say I was ignoring the little, she was pulling at my skirt asking for me to see something and I kept telling her I was in a hurry and that we had to go and we were late….After I finally got her in the car, she cried and stalled a good ten minutes all the way, I explained I was sorry and that sometimes mommy can’t have all her attention on and I had explained before going into the library that we only had a short amount of time because we didn’t want to be late to pick up sister. I aksed her again what she had wanted and she said in the sweetest, softest voice, “I wanted to practice my letters.” HEART BROKE. How terrible of me! I felt awful! So that’s on the docket for our next one-on-one time, letter writing, I think she meant in a side room with a dry erase board where she learned her name last spring. We’ll do it! Anyway, I suggested we do it at home on her lined Peppa paper, she suggested her “workbook.” YES! I admit it is HARD to toggle between the two girls doing TWO different activities and lessons and giving both praise, and direction. It can be stressful, like today, when both were so tired already and having emotional outbursts. BUT, we all did practice and learn and get something etched somewhere on our gray matter and that MATTERS! I see how younger siblings really benefit so much just being NEXT after the eldest. Lucky them.
Decided to pull out y camera today to capture again a typical day with Lo. And then pickup with Rem was just too good with that yellow tree in the back. I ran to my car to grab the camera again and happened to catch them BOTH in a happy, playful mood so I snapped a few. Still waiting for trees to turn here in Denver. A string of insane 90 degree temps has me going MAD in my closet in the mornings. I am NOT a summer girl. Anxiously awaiting crisper, chillier, cozier, wetter days. I wouldn’t even mind wind. I hate wind, but, I would welcome some strong winds to blow in something. This is not normal. Unsettling really. Much like homework. Just kidding- trying to remain positive; both that FALL will eventually come and know what to do, and that we will all get through uncomfortable learning hurdles and growing pains.
Curious to hear your thoughts, opinions, suggestions and ideas on homework. Share in the comments for everyone!
Wearing: I am wearing a vintage Calvin Klein denim skirt, (similar), Adidas sneakers and an OLD tee, I believe from a boutique in Chicago. Arlo is wearing a thrifted dress, and Remy is wearing thrifted/vintage as well.