Thursday, September 20, 2007


Well, besides growing up and having to do all of my own homework, I have had two years of practice doing homework with Emma to prepare for this year. A well oiled machine? HA! First off, this is the first time I have felt like my children regressed during the summer on their knowledge and own personal skill levels. So, it's really important that they practice to improve by completing their homework.
Can you say "nightmare"? Emma argues about which books to read and always tries to pick the ones with two words on each page. It's great that she's willing to read and that there are things that she feels confident in doing but I'm trying to explain that in order to be a better reader she needs to try books with more vocabulary... Then we have a new teacher with new methods and new ways of completing homework and Emma argues with me that I'm telling her the wrong way to do it. She wants to do it how she had to last year. She tries the,"Mom, I'm getting Izzy her blanket for her. Can you write the rest of my title for me?" And then she's furious when I tell her I can't do her homework for her. Furious is what Emma seems to be a lot lately. She's indignant about many, many things. Maybe I need to obsurve how I'm responding to her...
Then there's Aiden. Homework is new to him. He's only had it twice now and it is not every day. He was actually very excited to receive his first piece of homework and talked about how he couldn't watch any t.v. or anything when we got home because he had a LOT of homework that he needed to do first. Once he got inside, however, he changed his mind. I finally got him to come start his work and he wouldn't follow a single set of directions I gave him. He tried to do the exact opposite of anything I asked and then when he was convinced he needed to color the picture part first I didn't have the patience to sit there and watch him color... very slowly... But, if I leave the table, he quits! He got me so irritated I ditched the homework. It was a Friday so there was plenty of time. Needless to say, it was too painful to get him to finish it and he was forced to tell his teacher he didn't complete it. When the next homework came home it went like this:
I ask him to bring his homework to the table which takes him ten minutes with multiple requests and multiple t.v. turn offs and steering away from the computer. Then a request for colored pencils which he swears they have to use. He can't find them. I have to get them. We sit. "Okay write your name here." "I can't remember how." "Copy this ." He falls off his chair. He doesn't write his name yet. "Trace this letter." His pencil drops. "Trace this." He flips the paper over and around and upside down. "Start right here. Trace these." "Izzy, what are you drawing?" "Aiden, focus on your homework!" Traces one. Traces another one and tries to switch pencils. "First trace all of them with one color. Then switch." Traces all 3 letters then gets a new color. Starts to color the picture very, very particularly and slowly, changing pencils very often. I stay watching however pained I feel. He can't finish coloring 'cause his hand is tired. We move on. He has to draw his own picture. Then he colors that with at least five interruptions. He moves to the last page and finishes after a total of 45 minutes at the table. Completed: 7 traced letters, 3 of his own letters, and two pictures mostly colored...
When it was time to read together he was being ugly about it and I told him he would have to lay on his bed while we read if he kept it up. Where was he when I was yelling over and over for him while the others and I are waiting on the couch with our books? He's on his bed! "You said I could lay on my bed if I didn't want to read!"
Screw it, man!


Eric and Cheryl said... make me laugh! I have been right there with you, 2nd grade was our most challenging. So far, 3rd grade is looking hopeful. It doesn't help that we are both very stubborn and slightly controlling moms (hahahahah), and have daughters that are the same way. I do like that you used natural consequences, we've done that several times when it comes to homework and it works well. I love you and miss you and wish you were close by. Praying for patience :)

Jen said...

I love having other controlling mom friends!

Eric & Tara said...

since i am not a mom yet i have no good advice to give you...although i did sit here and try to think of some helpful ideas.
when malak gets here i will become very wise and motherly and i will have tons of spiritual-ness and tons of ideas to bestow upon you. just give me a month or 2.
remember when we used to be sisters and we would talk on the phone sometimes? i think we only talked because i called you and now i havent called because you moved away from me and left me all alone in the southern states. my heart breaks.

sarah said...

I almost never make my kids do their homework. I read some research and as it turns out its not actually as helpful as everyone says it is. It would be better to let them do something of educational value that they choose. I will say that we all are much happier since we don't fight over homework and there haven't even been any differences in grades/teacher response.

kristi said...

Wow! It makes me tired just reading this account. Blessings for patience as you work with your children on homework.

Julia Stewart said...

a question for sarah (unless she was being funny) : what happens when all of sudden they get bigger and their teacher asks them to hand it in.... will they be so in the habit of not doing it that it will be a problem?

Anonymous said...


Kaydub said...

I do not know, Jen, which was funnier: reading this misadventure or hearing you tell it ... with three or four interruptions!
You're one of the funniest persons I know.

~ Christy said...

Oh sounds like you have your hands full! I remember having a hard time letting my mom help me with my homework when I was younger. I think I did better with my dad, but there were many days that I turned in unfinished homework...and the world still went on! : ) I miss you guys, hopefully I'll call you soon!!