Recently I wrote about homework hell... Did you miss that one? Read it here.
Homework has been a challenge. And that's putting it nicely. But I think we may have figured out a solution. And it is shockingly simple and cheap.
Rea has been throwing major fits about homework and tutoring.
We hired two tutors at the beginning of this school year. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, Rea is in a new school, with new procedures and I want her to feel comfortable. Two, her teachers were concerned at the beginning of the year (only 3 weeks in) that she was struggling with the load. Three, I am super tired of fighting with her about schoolwork. It's much easier to pay someone else to do that.
So, bring on the tutors.
I have tutored in the past, so naturally I called my former boss and asked if she had anyone available. We talked for a while about Rea, my desires and expectations, and Rea's abilities and deficiencies. Stephanie (aforementioned boss) said she had someone awesome in mind. And with that, Rea's two-day per week tutor was discovered. She is wonderful, she comes to the house and works with Rea for one hour twice a week.
The other tutor is a teacher at Rea's school. I reached out to her teachers and asked if they knew anyone who might be a great fit. They had a suggestion. We got in touch. I explained all of my thoughts about my awesome child. And thus, Rea's at school tutoring was created.
Both tutors are fantastic.
But it's exhausting being 7. And I know if I feel like we are jamming a lot into each day, she must feel that way as well. So it is really no surprise to me that she was stressing and freaking out about the extra work. In reality, it's not "extra work", it's an outside person aiding in the homework. Unfortunately it is sometimes difficult for a little one to see that.
I can understand that. What I can't allow is the horrible mouthing off. Mouthing off to me. Mouthing off to the tutor. Mega meltdowns. Ugh.
There were a few sessions where I yanked Rea out of the room and forcefully made her cut it out. I don't want to be that Mom. After the third pull out, I sat in my office and thought about ways to handle this. So I called on all of my history as a teacher. One of the things I was pretty skilled at was classroom management. I taught the whole spectrum of kids... Did you see Freedom Writers? I have had several of those classes.
Anyway, the point is: I should be able to handle this education reluctance.
In my mental walk down memory lane I thought about stickers. When I was teaching, I used tiny stickers in my classroom. I hand out a sticker for pretty much anything: reading aloud, answering a question, staying awake... anything I felt was "sticker-worthy". It sounds elementary, but high school kids will fight tooth and nail for a simple sticker.
After the session, I walked the tutor out and shared my idea with her. She was on board and would be ready to go the next day.
I am happy to report that she and Rea have had several wonderful sessions since the sticker inception. Rea is very visual, she performs when she can see it and if she feels like it. I am praying fervently for this good behavior to continue.