Tuesday, 9 September 2008

School Blues Anyone?

So.... How's the school term going for you? Is everyone getting a nourishing breakfast into their tummies? How are bedtimes? Are you sick of lunchboxes yet? Have you found the Soccer Boots, or will you have to run out and buy new ones?

Thankfully, I seem to be better off in the Homework Department than many other parents I know. How? Here's the scoop:

I long ago made it clear that Homework is NOT my responsibility. I make it easy to settle to, and provide nice warm mugs of Milo and an organizer full of spare pencils and stuff (Because YOU KNOW the pencil cases have been forgotten somewhere!). I make it quiet (usually), calm (ish) and conducive to concentration. Snacks are provided. Max is removed from the vicinity. And then, I walk away. If you need help, call me. But it ain't MY homework. Been there, done that, Dude! They get into trouble at school for not doing homework, which I think is just great! Imagine, someone else gets to discipline Chas and Sam! Yay!

This attitude sometimes makes me very unpopular with the boys, like the time I left them "doing homework" and went to read Max a bedtime story, came back 30 minutes later to find a party going on. Complete with rock music and microwave popcorn.

I looked at the clock and said, "Fifteen minutes to bedtime, sweet feets."

"But we have all this homework to do!! We can't do this in fifteen minutes!!!"

"You have had forty-five minutes already, guys. Bedtime is in fifteen minutes."

Oh, I was a wicked, evil mother. I was going to get them into trouble! I WANTED them to be in trouble! The homework was not completed, and it was ALL MY FAULT! I sighed and said that my bedtime rule is very important, and they would just have to explain to their teachers that it was all my fault. There was some stamping about on floors, and I did NOT get a goodnight kiss.

But dear readers, it never happened again! Now, I can leave my little darlings at their Homework Time and they do as much as they honestly can. Towards the end, I join them and offer help. I can read out sentences or long sums, and offer moral suppourt and Milo top-ups to tired boys. Generally, the boys do all of their easy stuff first and save the long copying-out-and-editing stuff till I am there.

We have had weird conversations: "I'm not doing this! I hate homework!!"

"Okay, honey."

"But I HAVE to! Are you crazy?"

"Oh! So what are you going to do?"

"Grrrr.... Can I have a cookie? I will need it."

It would be a good idea to let your kids' teachers know if you decide to hand the responsibility to the kids. There must be consequenses at school, or there will be anarchy!

We do have evenings where homework is a problem because of forgotten books. I keep lots of copy-book paper and a list of phone numbers so that the boys can call their buddies for the work, but it can become irritating for all concerned. ("I can't do my homework yet, Christopher is having a shower. Jesse's at taekwondo. Lizzie?? I can't call LIZZIE!") I have yet to come up with a magical solution for this. Even asking, when they get into the car, if they've got everything, (Yeah Mum!) is useless! Anyone have a trick to share? Staple the homework list to their foreheads? Do tell. I will love you forever!


7 comments:

witchypoo said...

You are a terrific mom!

Theresa said...

I do not miss homework at all. Not one bit. I quite like that I am unschooled right now. Please remind me of this post when I am struggling with this in a few years.. it looks like a fabulous plan!

LceeL said...

You are terrific. But we always made the boys keep a homework calendar - on which we REQUIRED them to record homework assigents as given. And they knew we would check with teachers, from time to time, for accuracy.

AmyL said...

Duct tape! Staples leave holes in foreheads, but duct tape will do the job quite nicely.

Nan said...

Duct tape! Now why didn't I think of that? Lceel, the boys have notebooks where all of the assignments are written down, and I do check and remind them. Being organised really helps!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh man, that homework thing is not fun at all. Good for you for sticking to it--just the peace, quiet and snack is a lot of support.

Tash said...

Oh I am in the SAME situation with my rugrat! He'll do the work just fine, of course leaving the hard bits for when I come along to help BUT he's forgotten a book at school twice already. That's 2 days in a row. I haven't called anyone this time. It's up to him. He's scared he's going to "get sent home" - which is quite a problem cause I've told him he'll have to walk cause I might not be able to come - mean?!

We'll see what tomorrow brings - I am blue in the face with the "do you have all your books??" hee hee

Boys! *sigh*