homework confession

After being off track for over a month, my two oldest headed back to school today and I'm just trying to gear myself up for it!

Payton, my oldest son, is in third grade, which means that he's been in school for 4 years.  Up until this year, we've never done homework.  Go ahead, gasp and judge me.  I told you it was a confession.  It's not something I'm proud of.  In my defense, he has always been a great student and he's an extremely independent child.

I thought I was living it up while I could.  I'm sure he'll have more homework when he gets older, let's take advantage of this down time while we can. I'd reassure myself.

He's always had spelling words, daily reading and math papers that would come home, but Payton would complete his math papers while on the bus ride home so that he wouldn't have to waste his precious play time once he got home.  He also spent so much time at school working on the spelling words that he never needed to practice them at home.  He does his daily reading with the lamp beside his bed after we've tucked him in for the night.

My point is.  I've never been involved in the homework process...until this year.  Two things happened:

First, Payton started getting homework.  Not just do-on-the-bus-homework, but needs- to-be-done-at-home-redo-that-assignment-because-it's-too-sloppy-need-your-parents-help-buy a tri-fold-for kind of homework.

Second, Parker started kindergarten.  He gets a packet that he needs to complete each month, a book he reads daily and sight words to practice, which is easy.  The issue is that he LOVES homework. (I'll explain why this is an "issue".)  He always has.  Even when he was in preschool he was begging to do "homework."  (Honestly, I have no idea where he learned the word...not at our house!)

So, after 4-years of no homework, we are now required to do homework.  Like everything else in life, I had to make it a priority.  And I did.  The past few weeks I've had to set weekly goals.  Help boys with homework - daily.  Since I'm being honest, it hasn't happened daily (just like my exercise goal), but I'm trying.  I want to get in the habit of learning in our home daily.  I want to develop these skills that my boys will need for the next bazillion years of their lives until the graduate with their PHD's.  (A mom can dream.)

When I first began trying to implement homework daily it was painful for ALL of us.  Payton has never been in the habit so he thought I was torturing him.  Parker never wants to stop doing homework once we start because he loves it so much and gets angry when I tell him we're done for the day.  For me, I've struggled to find a good time to help two boys, without pulling my hair out!

We don't have a set routine yet, but I think we're getting there.  My only goal has been to do something, anything daily.  I've realized there are so many fun ways to do homework.  These scrabble tiles (pictured above) have been perfect for Parker to spell out his sight words.  AND, he can do this for hours without needing my help, just a quick glance of approval every so often.

Payton is really competitive and loves games.  We use this website aaamath.com.  Payton loves doing the timed tests.  We play another game together with flashcards.  We lay the multiplication flashcards down on the table and the first person that can say the answer gets to keep the card, until the stack of flashcards are gone.  Whoever has the most cards wins.  Honestly, he's beat me a lot of times without me letting him win.  We are both having fun and we're learning.  Better than that, we're doing...HOMEWORK!

All this time, I thought I was being so smart, but now I'm realizing how much I've missed out on.  Luckily, there is always time to change a habit and start something new.  I'm grateful that I am finally making homework a priority.

Do you have any great homework suggestions for me?  As you can tell, I still need a lot of help!


Amanda said...

My kids always liked the Summer Bridge Activity Books- I get them from Utah Idaho Supply. I bet Parker would love them. I love your math ideas- I have a 3rd grader too. I recently read "Why Chinese Mother's are Superior" in the WSJ and it really made me see that I short change my kids a lot by not requiring more from them. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html. Not that I don't love not having to do homework all the time- but they are only little for so long and it goes so fast and I want to be sure they are prepared to raise their own families some day. I also love that they are still little so I have time to figure all this out.

Tam said...

Thanks for sharing... Consider yourself very lucky that your boys Love homework! I really enjoy the homework time with C. because I can spend some alone time with him, but unfortunately for me, homework is not his natural love. I know it is important though so I have been able to use my creativity to make it tolerable and even fun most days. Yay, right! This is one of my favorite sights for games. You can change the words on most of the games to fit what you are working on which is nice. http://www.kellyskindergarten.com/Games/GamestoMake/games_to_make.htm We also like to play swat with fly swatters (New ones) with bug cards with sight words on them and we have a contest of who can swat the words first. Don't eat Pete is fun too! BTW Payton is great in primary! He is very bright and has added a lot of great insights to our lessons.

Reeses Pieces said...

I for sure always keep with my resolutions especially the diet ones...NOT!!!

April Perry said...

Hi Brittany,

I saw one of your articles in Deseret News, and I think we have a lot in common, so I thought I'd drop by your blog to say hello.

I write for the Motherhood Matters blog (by The Power of Moms) for Deseret News, and I run the website www.powerofmoms.com. We have a new "Friends" page that we're putting together, as well as a Mind Organization for Moms program I thought you'd be interested in (I've been a Franklin planner girl since I was 13, and I laughed when I read you had one when you were 10).

If you want to email me at april (at) powerofmoms.com, I'd love to send you a Mind Organization for Moms program (free), and we can link up.

We're putting on a retreat in SLC April 16th that you might be interested in as well.

So anyway, nice to meet you! Hope you're having a great day. You have a beautiful family.