A revelation after the first week of school

bs00822_.gifThe first week of school is over! Yay!!! My friend Darlene has reported success for the first week of school for her two little guys, my Grade 3 Luka’s best friend Ehren and his little sister, Sydney. Sydney has social anxiety and the move to a new house and a new, bigger school to contend with this week. Hop over and read the excellent Friday afternoon news on Darlene’s blog! (And click MEETINGS along the left-hand side to find out about the organization Families of Kids with Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Connecting Families Through Understanding, a lifeline that Darlene has brought up from the States.)

Our revelation: We have always been a kitchen-table homework family in the primary grades. Homework while eating breakfast, while waiting for dinner, after dinner, while Mum makes her fourth coffee of the night. When Tessa and Graydon got older, say Grade 6, there was a move to actually use the desks in their bedrooms for doing homework.

Last spring we added a new form of life to our home: fish. Their home is a 10-gallon tank at the end of our kitchen table. When Luka sits at the table with his school book open and pencil in hand, his concentration lasts as long as my beady-eyed stare. When I actually look at the pot I’m scrubbing, or glance at the oven, his eyes ping right back to the tank.

“Mum, how do you spell chicken?”

“Sound it out.”

“Ch… ch…. Do you think Zeebree is part catfish?”

“Are you spelling chicken?”

“No [indignantly] I am thinking because of his whiskers and how he always goes like this [Luka wrinkles his nose and smushes his lips around] that maybe he’s part catfish. What do you think?”

I think we are no longer getting work done at the kitchen table. This scenario repeats and repeats until at a little country church sale (sounds quaint, yes?) we spied one of those school desks with the inkwell hole and everything. We dragged it home and set it up in the livingroom/den/dining room/TV room, next to the kitchen, out of the fish tank sightlines. Homework progressed quite nicely last year, sometimes with the TV on, sometimes off, depending on the level of concentration needed (colouring and drawing and making stories, I had to admit, got completed no problem while the TV was on; math, nope).

So this year, he settled into his desk for the first real homework assignment, an interview of me on a behaviour that he chose, which was “Using time wisely.”

“Mum, are you watching that Sponge Bob show?”

“Well, kind of. Weren’t you?”

“Yeah, but we have to do this. Can I turn the sound down?”

“Well, that’s a great idea. It’ll make it easier to do the interview.” [my boy, he gets it!]

Two minutes into the interview, we’re both staring at Sponge Bob. Mr. Krabbs is making a Sponge Bob burger that is turning eveyone who eats it into a yellow sponge version of themselves. I’m dying to know what they’re saying—I can hardly believe it, but this is an episode I have never seen!

“Mum. Mum!” There is Luka standing up in his desk (a difficult feat), rolling his eyes. “Did you hear what I asked you? You didn’t. I think we both know what happens with that TV. It goes off.”

REVELATION!

That interview practically wrote itself!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: where do the kids do their homework at your place? And at what time? Is it better right after school, or after dinner?

Check back tomorrow for another spin around the Works For Me Wednesdays carnival!


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One Response

  1. Homework is definitely an immediately-after-school thing in our house. Over the years, I have found that getting them back into school mode after a delay is just too difficult. They come home, have an after school snack and chat about their day, then it’s right at it. I think kids get too tired to do some of the stuff creatively and with as much thought if you leave it too late (as do I if I have to help, to be honest).

    I have discussed this with other parents who think that kids should be allowed to play after school. And although I agree that SHOULD be what happens, I think with the amount of homework given today, it’s just so much easier to get it over with and have the night left for other activities. We also have a no-TV-on-weeknights policy, so that encourages the kids to play when homework time is over. I must admit, when it gets dark earlier in the winter, I try to let the kids play outside for half an hour immediately after school to take advantage of the quickly fading light.

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