A new ap­proach on home­work nag­ging

South Shore Breaker - - Homes - HEATHER LAURA CLARKE THE MOM SCENE heather­lau­r­aclarke@gmail.com

Now that our kids are in Grade 1 and Grade 3, I’ve no­ticed this year feels a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. They’re older stu­dents and with that comes more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home.

Our daugh­ter, who’s in Grade 1, needs to read at least one book ev­ery day and then we log it in her home read­ing jour­nal. Not a big deal, yet some­how we’re hav­ing trou­ble mak­ing it part of our daily rou­tine and she ends up read­ing all four or five books the day be­fore we need to send them back to school. Oops.

Our son, who’s in Grade 3, has a more in­ten­sive home­work lineup this year. He needs to read daily, prac­tise his weekly words and count by twos and fours to 100 (start­ing on dif­fer­ent num­bers). Be­cause he’s in band this year, he also needs to prac­tise at home for 15 min­utes ev­ery day.

The read­ing isn’t a prob­lem be­cause he takes af­ter me and loves to read. I read a chap­ter of Harry Pot­ter aloud ev­ery night — we’re on book four now, and to­tally ob­sessed — and then he’s so ex­cited to find out what hap­pens next that he reads ahead a cou­ple of chap­ters be­fore he goes to sleep.

Each week he has a dif­fer­ent set of spell­ing words to prac­tise, so I write them on a sticky note and put them on the side of the fridge. I see them ev­ery time I use the mi­crowave (which is a lot) and I’ll ran­domly ask him to spell them while I wait for some­thing to heat up.

“Car! Start! Fast! Al­ways! Grade! Made!” He’ll roll his eyes, but he’ll spell them all. It’s been a good sys­tem.

He groans when I ask him to do the count­ing by twos and fours, even though he can do it just fine. He’ll do the count­ing, but not with­out act­ing like I’m ask­ing him to scrub the toi­lets or play Minecraft in sur­vival mode with­out build­ing a shel­ter first.

And even though he loves band, he com­plains about prac­tis­ing. Al­ready! And it’s been, like, three weeks!

Ad­mit­tedly, he’s do­ing per­cus­sion so it’s not like he needs to prac­tise breath con­trol or fin­ger­ings or any of the stuff the kids with “real” in­stru­ments need to fig­ure out. But he still needs to prac­tise read­ing the mu­sic and count­ing in four four­time

He’ll get out of his drum­sticks and prac­tise pad and I’ll hear 15 min­utes of light thud­ding as he goes through a few pages of sheet mu­sic. But not with­out com­plaints, of course. Ugh!

They’re only go­ing to have more home­work as they get older, so I’ve de­cided I need to get or­ga­nized. I made them each a print­able weekly cal­en­dar so they can check ev­ery­thing off as they fin­ish it. (I’ll post a blank, down­load­able copy over on my blog at heather­shand­madelife.com.)

I even in­cluded 30 min­utes of manda­tory fresh air time — play­ing out­side in the yard. The idea is that if they fin­ish ev­ery­thing on a par­tic­u­lar day, they can play video games or watch a show with­out mean old Mom grip­ing at them.

I hope this works be­cause I don’t en­joy be­ing the home­work po­lice. There isn’t even a cool uni­form or a flash­ing light for my truck.

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