It’s been a long week. My return to work, coupled with YaYa’s return to school, has left the household tired and unmotivated at the day’s end. I’ve let a lot of things go by the wayside while I adjust to the change. The effect on YaYa speaks for the two of us. At the end of the day, he is easily angered or pushed to tears. I want to say that I know how he feels, but it feels pointless. The combination is futile.
Suffice to say that homework, during the initial arriving-home window, is a HUGE struggle. Last night, during the drive home, YaYa and I discussed his remaining homework tasks. His main task was to write a paper about himself. All of the discussion items had been previously (Wednesday night) picked out and detailed on a worksheet. I would later help him type the final draft. It seemed simple enough. He would work independently and I would have time to get in a MUCH NEEDED run.
I went upstairs shortly after arriving home, changed into my running clothes and headed downstairs with shoes in hand. YaYa stopped me to ask where his notebooks from last year were. There were specific formatting instructions that my perfectionist son needed BEFORE he would even write his name on the page. Trying to hold back my frustration, I went into the garage to retrieve all that came home on the last day of school. Of course, the detailed notes were not in the pile. I then tried, with the most encouraging tone I could muster, convincing my 11 year old son that it would be okay if he just worked with what he had. In total frustration, he refused.
I tried to understand the issue. “You have all of these details already… The worksheet — doesn’t that set you up for all the needed requirements?” He blurted out something about topic sentences for EACH paragraph, examples and details. “Yes. You have all that! What is the problem?” Beyond frustrated and in tears, YaYa told me that he didn’t know how many examples and how many details were required for each topic sentence. Apparently it was on the board. Apparently, he didn’t write it down because the teacher didn’t say that he had to.
He tried calling a classmate for clarification, but the classmate was not home.
Staring at my shoes, I pulled out a piece of paper and began outlining his paper using the information we had put on the worksheet the night before. I even used the color-coding format (Green = topic; Yellow = example; Red = supporting details) to help illustrate that he had what he needed to get the project done. “You. Don’t. Understand!” he bellowed.
My head began whirling. D@mn right, I don’t! (I didn’t SAY that.)
Explaining that further details and formatting could be done in the typing phase, I insisted that he should Just. Get. Started!!! At this point, running seemed ill-planned. I went to the kitchen and began cooking dinner.
I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that Tommy’s montessori school does not do homework. This little scene was a nightly occurrence around here! Now he has to read every night, and we have to support him if he wants to do a project, but other than that…peace. :)
ugh, I remember these battles well, and we all still have scars from them. sounds like he feels like he has to have all his ducks in a row before he can start. having my son take a learning style test helped tremendously for us to understand how his personality feeds his homework approach so we saw his perspective a little better (still thought he was trying to procrastinate, though, but at least we saw his “logic”). hang in there and remind him that you’re on his side, even when it doesn’t feel like you are!
FYI: This story actually had more to it. It ends well but I don’t know what happened to the rest of the post and doubt I can recreate it.
Ahhhh 11 year olds…. :-)