Homework has been such a struggle for our kids. It almost always involves procrastination, melt downs, good intentions, and late nights or early mornings. Things are slowly getting better, though. Very slowly.
Brooklyn had an assignment to write a Greek Myth. I think she was excited about it, since she loves her creative writing assignments, but we had a very busy weekend, and she had trouble finding time to get the work done. Saturday night, she asked Robb to help her get up early, so she could get the paper done before church. Her alarm went off at 5:00 am, Robb gently helped her up and got her going on the computer before he returned to bed. At 8:00, when I got up, I said, “I wonder how much homework Brooklyn got done?” I went in to the office, and found this scene:
Brooklyn’s explanation was, “I was SOOOO tired! I couldn’t keep my eyes open!” We asked her how long she worked, and she replied, “About 15 minutes.” Which means she spent at least 2 1/2 hours sleeping on two office chairs pushed together.
Quinn has had his own homework struggles, and after we discovered some huge amounts of neglect happening in his Biology class, we banned him from tv, computer, and video game screens indefinitely. The temptation of screens is huge for him, so during a recent family get together, we had him stay in the same room as his parents, which was particularly odious, as there was a ping pong challenge happening in the basement. Robb suggested he look through a National Geographic Magazine, as a distraction.
ON THE EDGE OF…
On the drive home, we were quizzing him about his NatGeo reading.
Robb: Did you learn anything?
Robb: Didn’t you read the articles?
Quinn: No. They were boring. (Which is funny, because he spent at least 10 minutes telling me all about a picture of a drone, and his opinion of how ugly it is, and how they should work on drone beauty.)
Me: You didn’t read a single word?
Quinn: I read one thing about being on the edge of an alfalfa field. But it was boring, so I stopped reading it. I thought it was going to be interesting. It said, in big words at the top of the page, “ON THE EDGE OF…” and I thought, the edge of glory? The edge of oblivion? But then it said, on the edge of an alfalfa field. It was so disappointing.
Yeah, he has definitely spent too much time in front of video games. On the bright side, his new, less interesting life has prompted him to do this:
Not only did he practice his actual lesson, but he also searched through my music for a classical piece to learn. I think he was afraid of what I would choose for him.
But homework is not all tears and suffering. Brooklyn had a recent win, too. Her teacher has been giving the class creative writing assignments, and at her last parent-teacher conference, she was excited for me to read her poem that was hanging on the wall outside the classroom. Her teacher laminated these poems and everything.
The creative writing teacher gave the class the assignment to choose and object to write about. The object would be the title of the poem, and then would not be used in the poem at all. The poem would consist strictly of descriptive words and phrases. She helped the kids come up with better, more descriptive words, and avoid repetition. When she saw Brooklyn’s poem, she told her she wouldn’t change a thing. Brooklyn was deservedly proud.
This is her poem:
A musty treasure box transports
me to other lands-
teaching, entertaining, enlightening-
all while I sit.
Like crinkling leaves, its parts
unfold and draw
colorful pictures in my mind.
Exciting adventures await;