Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Day 1 - MissM's In Charge

First week back after midterm break.

Actually, it's only day 3.

Homework hasn't been great this week as MissM was unwell on Monday afternoon (came home and slept til 6pm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), yesterday she tried very hard to do two nights homework in one.

We both felt the vibe of the Homework Monster hovering around us but thank goodness, it didn't rear it's ugly head. It came very close to us. Frustration with the amount of work to be done felt by MissM, suppressed horror at the amount of times the words 'I forgot how to do it' were uttered, or 'please listen to what I'm explaining' were said thru gritted teeth.

We are simply not a great homework team. It breaks my heart to admit it, but it's a fact. And it needs to change.

Today was a day of revelation for a number of reasons which I won't go into but suffice to say, we've both learnt a lot.

MrsS (BF and teacher) has suggested on a number of occasions to let MissM take responsibility for her homework.

She's been doing that for a while now with her two boys (11 and 8) and informed their teachers that they are responsible for their homework and she will not nag them. She will not raise her voice, she will not 'make them' do anything anymore where homework is concerned. Help - yes. Guide- yes. Support - yes. Negotiate - no. Argue - no. The stress, the frustration just wasn't worth their relationship.

The only reason I haven't done as MrsS suggested was simply because MissM hasn't had homework like she has now and 1/2 a term surely wasn't enough time for her to grasp the organisational skills and time management experience to cope. Or was I complicating things?

Do what you can, leave what you can't.

I know MissM and she'd opt to leave most of it every time.

School in the UK gave out a few maths questions on a Monday which were due on Thursday; there were spelling words which the kids had a week to learn. They had the occasional project over a 2-3 week period but it wasn't several subjects due the next day, every day.

Surely my job was to help her cope with so much at once. The other kids in her class have been eased into this workload - she, along with 4 other kids are not only new to school but new to the Irish Independent schools (which I have to say are different to the UK schools too tho from what friends have said, MissM's classmates from school are struggling to cope with nightly homework too)

So, with half a term under her belt I decided to ASK MissM what she thought about how we could make homework more enjoyable.

On the way home, I asked MissM 'if you could choose how you'd do your homework, how would you do it?'

She said 'I'd like to do half in the afternoon after I've had something to eat and relaxed a bit, and then the rest in the morning before school.'

If you do that, you'll have to get up earlier than you do now. Could you do that?

Yes. I can get up with Daddy. While he's checking emails, I can sit next to him and finish my work.

OK. That sounds like a plan ..... when will we start?

Why the change mummy? Don't you want to help me anymore? She asked it in such a way my heart skipped a beat, but I knew I was onto something ........

Not at all! That's my job to help you, but do you still need me to sit right next to you when you're doing it? You've learnt so much with MrP and you're doing so well, I just thought that for the first 1/2 term you needed my help in working out how to cope with nightly homework and that maybe now you've some idea's of your own about it.

Oh ok. I'm happy to take on that responsibility mummy. Thank you (took me all my time not to giggle at this)

So, this evening, thru gritted teeth, I waited for her to realise the time and start her homework. As the clock inched ever closer to 6pm, I said nothing. Come 6.15pm I just had to say something - damn!

MissM decided as it was 'so late' she'd do her homework while eating dinner. WT?????????

Towards the end of her meal, she looked at me and said 'this isn't working. I'm tired. I need some help'

Oh ok, I said oh-so casually. Pop up next to me and we'll see what you can do.

Long story short - MissM realised that doing homework around 5.15pm makes a lot more sense than starting after 6pm. (See how she feels in the morning when she said she'd finish it)

Guess that's a start.

Let's see how we go with Day 2 of MissM's In Charge of Homework.

Personally I think she's still too young to take it all on herself, but maybe not.

Only time will tell.

Now to make sure I keep my end of the bargain and keep quiet and let her work this out on her own.

As my cousins husband said while nursing his 6 day old daughter 'where's the manual'?

With friendship

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