My arch nemesis is homework. Why on earth can’t elementary age children complete everything necessary while they are seated in a desk for most of their 6 + hours at school? I am considering the purchase a few cows and goats and a smattering of chickens and dogs so that our kids can use the 1920’s excuse that free labor for the family chores is a necessity for our survival and, therefore, all school work must be completed in six hours, at school. I could use some goats and cows. Our lawn is unruly.
Since my bovine purchases probably are not likely to come to fruition, I have devised a plan to get the most out of our easily distracted children.
Choose their favorite atmosphere. While I need complete silence and zero disruption while I am working, my husband desires a drone of noise projecting from his computer tuned to a talk radio program. Kids are similarly different. While one of ours goes to the desk in his room and prefers background music, the other likes to be near me, in the kitchen, amidst the bustle of clanging dinner making dishes, television news playing in the background, dogs barking at the UPS truck, and a glass of iced water within reach. Another prefers coffee store ambiance and black coffee.
Choose the worst first. The statement that always follows, “Do you have any homework?” is typically, “Do the hardest thing first.” Evidently most of our children were graced with my non-math gene. Doing math is like solving a puzzle. I hate puzzles, and our children don’t exactly have a love affair with math either. When kids begin homework with the hardest subject, and finish, they attack the subject when they are most alert and focused. For the easier subjects a cell phone alert disruption or a sudden urge to pet the dog has little negative impact.
Have the backpack locked and loaded. One of my biggest frustrations is going through all the work of completing homework only to leave everything at home. Putting all completed work, signed papers, and supplies in their backpack the night before, next to the door, assures me that all things school related will arrive safely. If needed, I will leave sticky note reminders on the stairs, bathroom mirror, and front door. “Lunch?” stuck to the doorknob is a simple reminder for our biggest boy and “water” written on a bright note goes on the front of their lunch bags. If that isn’t enough, I don’t pull out of the driveway until they convince that they have everything necessary; however, I don’t always drive to school.
Homework is here to stay. Thankfully there is black coffee, background music, a pad of sticky notes, and ice water. And when dinner is done and homework is completed, a stuffed backpack waits, near the door, stuck in repeat mode for the next 180 school days.