The ongoing saga of homework with the Elder Monkey has been getting much better lately. I never said I knew what I was doing in this whole parenting thing, but it sure took a while to figure out the right after school groove.
At first, you see, I was the opposite of pushover with all this. I was determined that homework was to be done right away and he will sit there, young man, even if it took us all afternoon. It was totally bogus. Homework, in the first grade anyway, is designed to take fifteen minutes, tops. Factor in all the whining, time-outs and meltdowns, it would turn into a few hours. I hated doing it as much as he did.
And so I was bamboozled, of course, since being the perfect child, never having this problem in my youth. Ahem. "Not again." "This is boring." "I can already do this so why do I have to?!" Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe he's got more of the aforementioned perfect child in him than I thought.
So it seems, parents have homework as much as kids do. For me it's figuring out that you can have discipline and not turn into a dictator. The whole balance thing with being the dad and trying to fashion some respect but also making sure they don't COMPLETELY hate you. It's probably inevitable but I still gotta try, right?
Generally, the actual process of doing of the homework has gotten far easier. And so it seems with mine, a yogurt, a pretzel and an hour of free time first instead of a kitchen table SWAT team lock down right after school works much better. Once we get going, reading is fine form, his handwriting is a zillion times better, and math has always been a slice o' pie.
It still takes a bit of prodding though, when 4 o' clock rolls around, especially if things are making explodey sounds. Which is why today, when I saw that he was to write poetry, I drew a complete blank as to explain how one actually writes poetry without breaking into a lengthy dissertation on how things don't always have to rhyme to be a poem. There are times I forget he's doing the homework and not me. And then I remember he should of course get away with rhyming as much as possible while he still can.
So here's what he came up with. With perhaps the tiniest bit of help from Dad and Grandma but, you know, sometimes collaboration is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
Ahem ahem ahem:
A polar bear lived in an ice cave.
people say he was very brave.
He hunts for seals.
He eats them as a meal.
And on holidays he eats fish sticks.