Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Homework Blues

Last year, homework was... well, there's just no nice way to say it.  Homework was a pain in my backside.  And Bunny's backside and often The Hub's and GG's backside. Bunny didn't want to do her homework.  Plain and simple.  And with our schedules, we were finding it difficult to manage our time and her time effectively.  This meant that homework was almost always done last minute with all of us pulling out our hair.

This year, we're trying a different approach.  The first thing we're instituting is a homework first policy.  No TV and no playing until homework is done.  Last year, we had them play or watch tv until one of us was able to help with homework.  This year, since I've altered my work schedule to be done when school is out, we'll be focusing on homework right off the bat.  And if that wasn't enough of an incentive, we started a rewards program!  I feel like such a game show host - But wait, there's more!

If each of my kids gets their homework done before 6pm (and that includes Bunny's half hour of reading) without arguing, then they earn a sticker.  8 stickers (so two weeks because we only have homework m-th for the most part) earns them a trip to the 99 cent store to get one item of their choice.  Hopefully, homework won't take until 6pm.  We're counting on the idea of the faster they get it done, the sooner they can play but we're giving them until 6pm in case they have an off day or a lot of homework one night. And on the days they don't have homework (like last night), I will come up with work sheets and projects for them to do so they still have a chance to earn a sticker and stay in the habit of doing homework right after school. We're tracking each of them on their own calendar.  They got to not only pick out the calendar picture, but put on the stickers too.

Last night, Bug worked on writing his name and the letters of the alphabet.

He knows all of his letters, but his penmanship leaves a lot to be desired. So that's one thing we've decided to work on with him this year.  This is of course, one of those fine motor skills.  We'll work on this with work sheets, but also stringing beads, gluing beans, and cutting out shapes with scissors.  This is something his Pre-K teacher said he needed to work on so we'll continue with it at home.  We also read a book together.  On each page I had him find a letter and tell me what sound it made.

Bunny did some math and spelling review worksheets from a first grade level.

We'll work into the harder things, but I think first, since they're working on the states, we'll get her a states puzzle - you remember these old wooden kinds).  I could probably use a refresher myself.  I'm ashamed to admit all those middle states confuse me.

We also, of course, read a few pages from her The Little Princess book.  This text is a much higher level than 2nd grade, so we only get through about 2 pages a night, but her reading proficiency is improving in leaps and bounds!

The goal here, is to get them to want to get their homework done each night, and to not have it drag out all night long.  We hope the combination of delaying tv/playing and the rewards of stickers and prizes will encourage them.  Wouldn't it be awesome if by 6pm we were done with homework and dinner giving them a little bit of tv and play time  and us some relaxation before bed at 7:30?

Seriously.. Thoughts?

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