I never had homework when I was 5. I really wanted it. I craved it! I had an older sister who had it, so it must be cool, right!?
Once I got it, I learned pretty quick that it actually sucks, but that’s a story for another day.
Today’s story is about my daughter. She gets homework. She goes to kindergarten, full day. Kindergarten today, is not the kindergarten of my youth. It’s no joke. There will be reading! There will be writing! There will be 1 short recess, and not enough time to eat all of your lunch!!!
The first homework assignment was exciting for us both! She got that s*** done! We felt proud.
The second, not so much.
It came on Monday, and was due Thursday.
It went like this:
ME: Hey Brooke, do you feel like doing homework? (I came on weak, I didn’t feel like dealing with it.)
Brooke: Ummm, no.
Me: (I don’t say anything, I’m tired.)
ME: Brooke! YOU HAVE TO DO THIS HOMEWORK TODAY.
BROOKE: WHY??? I did homework ALL DAY at school!!!
ME: It’s due tomorrow. DO IT.
ME: You’re going to regret this when it’s almost time for school, and you’re scrambling to get it done, and your teacher won’t be happy with you.
BROOKE: (Ignored me)
Thursday, 7:30 AM:
ME: DO IT.
ME: DO IT.
ME: I’m going upstairs to do my hair. Do it now.
10 minutes later, Brooke comes in to my room, crying.
BROOKE: SOMETHING HAPPENED TO MY HOMEWORK! WAHHHHH!
I could see how badly her heart was broken. She’d let herself down. I softened my approach, we go downstairs. Apparently, she was so mad about homework, that she scribbled all over it with orange colored pencil. Then, she tried to “re-rase” it with a damp rag, resulting in a huge hole in the middle of the homework paper.
You know, that kind of made me proud of her. Like, “hey teacher, f*** you… and your homework, I’m FIVE!!”. But of course, I can’t let her be that girl…yet.
So we fixed it up as best we could, and everything turned out OK.
And then the next week, we approached homework with a much more positive attitude, and finished it right away, instead of procrastinating.
Dear God: if I can teach my child not to procrastinate, I will feel like my life had true purpose.
I’ll let you know how that works out.
So, being as though I know we all love a numbered list: Presenting, my
5 Tips For Surviving Homework
(If you have a kindergartner, because lord knows,
I have no idea how to raise anyone over the age of 6.)
1. Be fun and playful! Make it seem like, “OMG, this is going to be awesome! Do you want to hear what we have to do right now? You do!?? Look, let’s color this cute little bear on your worksheet, and then there’s a GAME, where you color these apples green or red, based on whether there’s a letter or number inside. THEN, you can do this SUPER EASY part, where you right the letter E over and over again, as FAST as you can! You can have a SNACK while you have all this fun! READY, SET, GO!!!!!”
2. When it’s done, make a huge deal out of it. Make them feel like their work is so good, their coloring looks AMAZING!!! I am proud! And you should be proud, are you PROUD???!!!
3. Tell another person in the room about the amazing job they did. Reinforcement!
4. Let them do something fun like watch a movie or go for a bike ride when they’re finished. Reward (duh).
5. Ask them for help with something a little while later. Let them feel that you trust them even more now, because you recognize how smart and capable they are. It will reinforce that pride, and god-willing, feed their hunger to cooperate and do their best next time it’s a homework day.
Good luck, parents.