I really hate it. I never liked to do it. I never liked to grade it when I assigned it (when I was a teacher). I don't like to have to work on stuff when I get home after a long day in the office or being a mom.
So why is it surprising to me that my kids hate it too?
I should have been prepared for all the backlash. I should have had a game plan.
But still, I was not.
Admittedly, some days are better than others. There were days (last year) when SmallStu would just come home, sit at the table, eat her snack and pound out the homework. 1st grade homework wasn't too terrible. Mostly it was reading for 20 or so minutes and a math worksheet or two. No super big deal. But every once in a while, it would be a nuclear disaster.
I spoke to the school psychologist last year and her math teacher. Help me please. What do I do? Why are we fighting for 2 hours about homework that takes literally 5 minutes to complete?
The school gave me some great CDs to listen to... Love and Logic. Check it out. The CDs, like lots of these kinds of things, are outrageously cheesy. BUT, the information is PRICELESS. Seriously. I cannot tell you how much I love them. I burned them onto my phone (is that still the phrase or did I just date myself?). I sometimes listen to them in the car if I am particularly stressed out and in need of extra parental help.
The gist of the tapes is basically to teach consequences and personal responsibility. Essentially throw everything they do back at them. No fighting.
So, the school told me to not fight. When she yells that she doesn't want to do it, I said "Well, I love you too much to fight with you."
This literally stopped her dead in her tracks (that's how I knew this was pure parenting gold). She thought for a minute. Then shouted "What does that mean?!!?"
I calmly replied, "I love you too much to fight with you about your homework. I think you should do it, but it's your decision. I love you."
Without missing a beat, she yelled, "You're going to let me go to school with my homework not done?! HA! And you say you love me."
Inside my head I'm going "go brain dead, go brain dead." I smile, and say "I believe in you. I love you. You will be able to handle this."
She said "Great. I'm not doing it."
The hardest thing to do was let her go without it done. What kind of parent am I? Will the school teach the lesson? Will there be any consequence at all? Did I just teach my kid she doesn't actually have to do homework?
The school and I had a plan. We knew what to do if she went without her homework done. It definitely was not because Mommy let her...
The next morning on the way to school, panic set in. Not for me. For SmallStu. She began to worry about what would happen. She had never not turned in an assignment. She voiced her worry in the form of crying and pleading. I gave her a big hug and told her "I love you. You can handle this. I believe in you."
Then I had to watch her walk away. The plan was in motion. Operation: Learn a Big Lesson.
When I picked her up and asked about the day, she told me it was an ok day. The only terrible part was when she had to "payback" recess. I asked what that meant. She explained that because she chose not to complete her homework at home, she had to sit on the bench and do it while all her friends got to play. And no one was allowed to talk to her. She told me it was terrible.
And we never had another fight about homework.
Until this year. I am so exhausted actually from today's battle that I will blog about it in another entry. The biggest difference between this year and last is me. I do not engage. Well, I try dang hard not to. I just repeat my mantra "go brain dead, go brain dead" when the CrazyChick emerges.
Seriously though, do yourself (and the kids) a favor, go check out Love and Logic.