Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homework blues

Bearhug and Cuddlebug do their fair share of complaining about homework. And sometimes they drag their feet and take FOREVER getting it done when they could have finished it in 10 minutes had they just put a little focus on it.

But that is nothing, NOTHING compared to Bitty's response to homework.

What homework, you ask? After all, he is only four years old. How much difficult homework could they be giving him to do?

Well, thankfully, it's rare. As in, maybe once every couple of months or so. No big deal, right? And, it's easy stuff. Perfectly appropriate for a 4-yr-old. They send home a short book to read with his family, and a coloring / activity page that goes with it. That's it.

That's IT.

He brought home such an assignment a couple of weeks ago. The book was "The Mitten," by Jan Brett. He was ok with reading the book (only minimal whining). But you would have thought we were asking for a dissertation when it came time to do the coloring page. All he had to do was color a picture of a mitten.

He doesn't really do "coloring" so we would have been fine with just a few scribbles of an attempt to color the mitten.

That's it. That's all he had to do.

After much wailing in protest, he finally did it. I thought he did pretty good:

So, end of story. Right? Ha! I wish.

Oh no, he was just getting started. So upset was he that he had to color the mitten in the first place, that he wanted to erase it.

Well, you can't erase crayon and I knew he'd rip the page up trying, so I said no.

He grabbed his paper and headed to the sink, attempting to erase it with a sponge.

Lucky for me, the sponge was dry.

I took the paper from him, put it away so it would still be intact to send his teacher the next day, and tried to redirect him to something else.

Hahaha. This is Stubborn-and-Persistent-to-the-point-of-Obsession Bitty we're talking about here. There was no redirecting him. The screaming commenced when I refused to hand over his paper for erasement (is that a word?). I put it on top of the fridge, he started climbing up on the counter to reach it. I put it up on the top shelf of the closet, he pulled a chair over and tried to get it down (but couldn't reach). Exasperated, I carried him (kicking and screaming) upstairs hoping the paper would be "out of sight, out of mind."

Hahaha. I did mention, Stubborn-and-Persistent-to-the-point-of-Obsession, right?

It was an all-out meltdown. Screaming at the top of his lungs, tears of anguish running down his cheeks. "Aw duh-wi-da up?" he pleaded. (all done with the up, meaning can his paper come down now). Afraid that he would tear it up and not wanting to send in his homework in shreds, I held my ground. "Sorry, Baby, but no." More screaming and thrashing. This went on for over an hour, until he finally wore himself out and fell asleep.

Seriously, all this over an easy, five-minute assignment.

I am so NOT looking forward to when he starts getting regular homework assignments. :/

Although, now that I'm thinking about it, last time he had homework the meltdown was over reading the book, and this time he at least did that part. So... that's improvement. Maybe there's hope after all ;).

In hindsight, maybe I should have just taken my chances and given him the paper. Would it be the end of the world if he tore it up? No, but we've been through this enough times to know that it wouldn't stop there. And even though his teacher would not have minded if he didn't turn it in (I think technically these are optional assignments at this age), learning to do homework is important so when he starts getting assignments that are not optional he'll already understand what is expected and have a "routine" established for what to do when he has homework (preferably, a routine that does NOT involve a meltdown).

Update: for what it's worth, this was written (just not posted) a few weeks ago, and since then he had another assignment which he did without going ballistic. So maybe we can chalk one up for Mama and Dada in this case. Or maybe we just got lucky that time... time will tell ;).

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Rebecca on March 7, 2010 at 1:30 AM said...

Food for thought (feel free to ignore me) - Bug would have never colored the mitten. If I had made him he too would have had a meltdown. For Bug the reason would be found in the story... The mitten was white.

I gave him a snowflake to color after a science lesson about snow. He refused. Snow is white.

Ya gotta love our kids, ya know? ;-)

danette on March 7, 2010 at 2:49 AM said...

Rebecca - this wasn't the first time he had a blowout over being asked to do a seemingly small assignment (in fairness, I'm sure they don't seem small to him), but I think you may be on to something! That didn't occur to me, but it totally makes sense though :)

Elizabeth Channel on March 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM said...

Hey--he used two colors! Neither of my boys would have ever used multiple colors, much less colored the whole mitten. We also "don't do coloring..."

MommyToTwoBoys on March 8, 2010 at 4:47 PM said...

You are NOT alone. You could have easily just described a scene at our house any day of the week!

I just wish I could throw a tantrum over my responsibilities like paying bills every now and then. Wouldn't it be fun to just let loose and let everyone know how you really feel about doing something you don't want to do???

But seriously, I am glad that it ended well and that there have been no incidents since.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can so relate to the wanting to erase the crayon and all the fuss that followed. UGH!!


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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