Homework for Breakfast Part Two

Homework drill sargent

Wow. I had no idea kindergarten homework was such a hot topic! Instead of responding in the comments I figured I’d write a second post because I still have a lot to say on this subject.

First, I feel a little sheepish because I exaggerated a bit about Bug’s homework. I wanted to be funny and those were my feeeeeelings at the time. While I still feel that her homework is excessive and our battles over it are still quite epic, I think a lot of my frustration with homework and Bug are based on her sense of timing clashing with mine and not necessarily how terrible the homework is itself. I meant to get into that in my post but I ranted on about how stupid the homework was and ended my post before I even got to that. Sometimes my posts write themselves and when I find myself with a pat ending, I just hit publish instead of making sure I covered my topic well.

So!

I do agree that the homework is excessive. I don’t understand why she has to do a packet of 20-some pages that takes us easily an hour every night, three nights of the week (it’s due on Thursdays). However, the work for the most part is on target for what she is learning. It’s actually easy for her. She’s aced nearly every test she’s ever taken in school and when she focuses on the work, she can get through it. She just likes to take her sweet time. Which does not mesh well with my sense of urgency or schedule.

I’m a classic first-born, over-achieving, people-pleaser. I always did well in school and I want Bug to too, of course. Thankfully, she’s a bright kid and she learns easily. I can probably blow off the homework and she’ll still do fine. It’s just hard for me to fly in the face of authority like that. I will talk to her teacher and bring this subject up.

I know Bug struggles with getting all her work done in school too. We’ve talked about it, her and I. She tells me that her teacher tells her not to worry about it, “she can do it later” so this is probably something I should apply to homework as well. I know they aren’t going to fail her if she doesn’t complete the packet. It just goes against my grain to turn in something half done.

However, I realize that is my pride talking. Like some of you mentioned, I don’t want to beat the fun of learning out of her. My nieces went to this same school and I think that happened a little bit with them. They both struggled with getting homework done and part of me wonders if maybe it was because there was JUST TOO MUCH.

I think I would like a school that banned homework. I think I’d probably even like a school that banned screen time but right now with our situation, I cannot homeschool and I cannot afford private school. This is the best school I could get her into in the town we live in. It’s public school.

I think public school sucks right now in most of California, maybe even the country. BUT I don’t think it’s going to hurt her. I think she is going to learn just fine because she’s smart and learning comes naturally for her. We work on learning new things at home independently from school so I think for the most part going to school for her is just for socialization and learning to accept authority other than me.

In fact, she is thriving outside of our homework battles. Bug’s teacher is WONDERFUL. I love her. Bug loves her. Pretty much the sun and moon set around her teacher. I bet even her teacher thinks the homework is bogus. I’m going to talk to her about it the next chance I get. I think it’s a school-district policy to have them do these packets and she is just following orders. Maybe this is what works for the common denominator and obviously Bug is not the common denominator.

What I needed to ask you kind readers, and I failed to get to it in my last post, is how does one deal with a child who is a dawdler? Many of you touched on this in the comments and I want to know more. Are there any dawdlers out there who have grown up to be normal adults who can help me understand this behavior through your eyes?

This is something I love about Bug. She finds wonder in everything. We can walk down the street and she will admire every tree, every branch, every leaf, every crack in the sidewalk… The world through her eyes is amazing. But she also takes five minutes to fasten her seatbelt every time we get in the car and has to be drug down the street so that we can actually get from point A to point B in a timely manner. Is there a way to mesh my people-pleasing, over-achieving, driven style of mothering with her independent streak? What is it like to be nagged endlessly by someone like me? Is it as horrible as I feel when I’m doing it? Is there a better way to get her do something? Can someone like her be hurried? Or do I just need to let things fall apart?

Homework for Breakfast

homework...for breakfast!

We’ve been struggling with homework lately. To be honest, I think homework has been a challenge from the start which is silly because it’s kindergarten! How hard can it be, right? Hah. Kindergarten schmindergarten. I think these three-inch packets of busywork they send home as “homework” are a trick to see if parents are paying attention, that’s what they are. If you don’t help your children do the homework correctly then it must mean you don’t love them! The homework police are watching! Fail! Fail! Fail!

For example: that black rectangular smudge on this thrice-copied xerox that someone hand-me-downed from the eighties is a van, right? V is for van? Or maybe it’s a sink. Is there an S on there? Hmm…let me squint and read the miniscule directions along the side of this really crappy worksheet copy…oh, the directions got cut off. We’re just supposed to know what to do because we’re grown-ups and kindergarten homework is for five-year-olds. Surely 39-year-olds can handle simple letter-recognition exercises? I have a degree in English dadgumit!

peeved

So my inability to comprehend kindergarten homework directions coupled with my five-year-old’s highly-effective homework resistance efforts have moved the actual homework completion process to a fairly volatile situation. Meaning, the morning that homework is due has turned into full-on bootcamp craziness, complete with me yelling my head off and the five-year-old running off to her room in tears. And this is just kindergarten!! Whatever are we going to do when she gets to word problems and science projects and book reports?!!!

ugh

My feelings exactly.

I don’t know.

We’ve tried everything. We’ve tried sitting down and doing little bits daily. She pokes at it. Spends probably 45 minutes procrastinating and picking all the berries off my centerpiece and gets 1/32nd of it done. We’ve tried me sitting next to her coaching her kindly. That lasts about 45 minutes and then my face melts off and I retreat to go text or something on my phone. We’ve tried comedy hour with me making jokes about every little thing. Haha! Isn’t the number seven so funny the way it slants to the left so that all the little children can slide down it and go to the front of the line! HA HA HA HAA HO HO HO HEE HEE HEE!!! She loves that method. We spend hours laughing our heads off and get about nothing done. And then when I don’t make jokes she thinks I’m the meanest mom in the whole wide world.

not her happy face

I’m such a cruel mom! I’m NOT funny AND I make her do stuff. Like pick up her dirty laundry and brush her teeth. It’s so unfair!! Why does she have do EVERYTHING!!!

math homework

Does anybody else out there struggle with kindergarten homework?

homework at breakfast

Do you have any tips for me? Anything has got to be better than how we’re doing it.