I thought I had a brilliant plan for Anna’s first-grade weekly homework. Since I work so much, I thought it would be awesome if homework time would be special Mama/Anna time together. “We’ll do your homework together every night, Sweetie,” I said, “It will be special and fun,” I said.
I was trying to accomplish two things: get her excited about homework after the disaster of last spring, and have designated time to connect with my daughter.
At first, it worked like a charm. She was so excited to get her first packet of homework for the week. So enthusiastic, in fact, that she finished the whole week’s-worth of homework in the first night. She told all her friends, “My mama and I are having special homework time together!” So cute.
Well, that was a few weeks ago. Do you know what is not cute? At all? A girl who refuses to write the correct answer, even when she clearly knows it. A girl who scribbles all over the place where she is supposed to be writing an answer. A girl who draws curlicues all over every number. OK, actually, that part is kind of cute.
But SERIOUSLY. I got so frustrated last night, I stormed away. Stormed away, as in, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? YOU KNOW THE ANSWER! THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I’M DONE WITH YOU!!” And then I actually stomped out of the room and upstairs. I’m not proud to admit all that.
But you know what happened when I wasn’t sitting right there watching her screw around with her work?
She did it. All.
I just went upstairs to put on my pajamas, but in that short amount of time she finished her work and came to find me to ask,”Why did you go away so mad?”
Tonight, I was distracted by my exceptionally messy kitchen. So instead of hovering over Anna, I just made sure she knew how to do the problems, then set about cleaning up a bit. You know what? She did just fine. I checked in on her periodically to make sure she was doing alright, and gave her praise for all the fine work she was doing.
It turns out my presence may have actually been a hindrance to her getting it done.
So I went away. But this time, without all the unnecessary anger.
I hope this formula works for a while. It worked tonight, but everything works until it doesn’t, right?