Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homework Battle

We had our first homework battle last night and it was fierce.  Kanin is a good student and a leader in his class but this year I've met a little resistance when it comes to doing homework.  

Kanin's  "homework" each week consists of:  3 nights of reading for 15 minutes, 5 minutes each day of math facts, 10 spelling words, 5 vocabulary words, and a teacher's choice assignment.  The teacher's choice this week was to read a book, write a 3 complete sentence book report, grade the book from 1 apples to 5 apples, cut and color the apples, trunk, and tree and then glue it altogether.  Simple, right?

Since it was a book report the book was supposed to be an actual story and not a non-fiction book in which there was no beginning, middle, or ending.  I made sure to tell him this before he chose his book.  After reading his chosen book, African Cats, I sat down with him to complete the homework and he had, in fact, chosen a book that was about all different kinds of African cats.  No story to it just a book about cats.  When I informed him that that book wasn't going to work, the battle was on.
I'll spare you all of the details but the episode ended with me asking Kanin if he was going to do his homework or not and him saying, "No."

"Fine," I told him. "If you don't want to do your homework, you don't have to.  I'll just write a note to your teacher telling her that you chose not to do your homework and for her to feel free to punish you as she sees fit or to send you to the principal's office."

I then got up and started making dinner. 
Finally around 8:00pm he came down and said he was going to do his homework.  I helped him summarize the story into 3 sentences and then told him about the cutting, coloring, pasting part.  

Once he was finished, I showed him the note that I had written to the teacher and told him that I was going to hang it on the refrigerator (my Mom's idea) and that the next time we went through this, there would be no battle.  I would just put the note in his folder and he would have to deal with the consequence of his choice at school.

Do you have homework battles at your house?  How do you handle them?  

Believe me, the thought of sending that note to school with him was not appeasing to me.  I know that will reflect on us as parents because the school expects the parents to make sure the kids are completing assignments.  I don't think, though, that Kanin has grasped the fact that it is his responsibility to get his work done, not mine.  

I hope that we won't have another episode like this for a long time but I'm not betting on it just yet.  I think the note probably will have to come off of the refrigerator at least once for him to "get it" and I'm ok with that.  I think it will be a good life lesson for him.  Up to this point, he hasn't ever been at trouble in school and has really been held up as a model student.  I think that he needs to realize that even though he may be smart and respectful to his teachers that he is still required to do the exact same work as everyone else.  I think that one time of him "getting into trouble" will be enough for him and he won't want that negative attention again . . . at least that's what I'm hoping.


  1. I love this idea :). As a former teacher and mom of a preschooler who also does well at school and wants to behave, i definitely think this will work to make him want to do his work. I'm banking this idea in my head. Thanks! (hope you don't actually have to use it :))

  2. I think that is a great idea! As a teacher I know way too many parents who would try to avoid the battle by doing the homework FOR the child when he/she starts arguing about it, as if the teacher couldn't tell! Or sending notes that make excuses for the child for not doing it! Clearly this isn't sending the right message... obviously there is an occasional time when a student/parent has a legitimate reason the homework doesn't get done and that is fine... but what kind of responsibility and honesty would you be teaching the child otherwise??

    I think it is a great idea... now hopefully you don't have to use it! ;)

  3. Nice job April!!! I like it. Reagan is in Pre-K and her homework is super simple, but ALREADY we are having some battles. I will keep your idea in my back pocket. Unfortunately, Reagan is not a "pleaser" and pretty immature, so she probably wouldn't care about getting in trouble. But I hope as she matures, this will get better. Keep writing, I love your blog.

  4. oh no. I'm not ready for this. Good job, Momma! Hope it worked for you and you won't have that problem again.

  5. That note is a genius idea! i will have to remember that when my kids get bigger!