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How to Make Homework Fun for a First Grader – and Beyond
Yes I reckon all those fancy pantsy diplomas kind of give away the fact that i love to learn
Love life including your child's
Homework is not just for kids anymore. Parents and other folks taking care of a child should hop on aboard the homework train. It is not just a job it is an adventure. Everyone can find something worth learning in reading, writing and arithmetic. Interactive engagement is an opportunity to really get to know a child. And just as cool is that it is a great opportunity for a child to really get to know you. Interactive engagement with homework/homeplay is an amazing opportunity for the adult to learn what they already learned and forgot. 83 x’s 39 anyone?
Time for true confessions. Most children grow up knowing their parents as parents. Somehow, and we blame this on the parent, the child is denied the great pleasure of knowing their parents as persons. Warts and all. Truth be told it is generally a concealment of traits, habits and shortcomings of the parent. Let us call it as we see it – it is less than honest. Parents take on a role of know all and be all. Does this create in our children a self-vision that anything less than all-knowing is failure? We believe it does.
The cure is to show some vulnerability. If your first reaction is that the child will no longer robotically follow your every command then think about that. Your child should understand the why’s of your commands. But the best part for you is that you get to say “I don’t know let’s look it up”. And don’t tell anyone but I have real paper books that may have the answers using an index and glossary instead of a Google search, though we use both.
Try this one on for size; Why is the sky blue and the clouds are white except during sunset?
So I taught her how to learn.
Sorry for the break here but my son and I were having a dance party to this. Makes him giggle.
That unwritten and unspoken communication, so cool.
And here is where you say “wait a second here, I do not have the time to do that”. That is fair, we all make our own priorities. Paying rent or putting food on the table would be a higher priority. Buying a new car, spending hundreds on Christmas, fancy vacations and the best gadgets, handbags and internet connects would, I hope, be a lower priority. So sometimes we catch ourselves saying I am working extra to pay off my high credit card debt. Probably an indication that your values do not really place your child first. But don’t be hard on yourself just realign and move forward. I always like to laugh about parents using guilt to motivate their children, but it is often a crippler for a parent. Self made guilt that prompts us to go grand rather than pick it up at the beginning, is more crippling. I really hope you tackle that idea. Parents screw up. A cover up is a road to problems. Acceptance is critical. And go ahead and share it. They will learn responsibility for actions without any harsh words.
Can we be honest without being vulnerable? It would seem that we cannot. The big “hold back” or secrets deny us the beauty of honesty with ourselves. If I say “you would not understand” then clearly I do not understand. I think Einstein said, to the effect, that if you cannot explain something to another then you do not understand it yourself. Perhaps more precisely “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” And I add that if you do not “have the time” to explain it, don’t say it.
There was a guy that once told me to do as I do not as I say. Certainly being able to do both is optimum. And I just can’t see a true justification for not doing both with a child.
Here is an interesting concept of battle. The Officer barks out orders. They must be followed. But they have this thing called chain of command. The guy that graduated from a military academy gives the order. But a highest ranking enlisted man translates it into what he has trained those under his command to do. Minimal explanation is necessary. There is no blind obedience because in training all eyes are opened as to what means what and why and how to carry it out. This concept is so cool in Professional Football. The coach calls in a play. The QB translates it into action by his team, and variances occur for many reasons but the QB and the wide receiver do not need to explain to each other it is in sync. I beg of thee to be in sync with your child. Or should we do less than what the handler does with a dog.
I tell my son to kick off his shoes before tracking dirt into the house. The why has already been asked, the trust and mutual understanding is like a ballet of two minds working as one. It is really a beautiful thing if you slow down and appreciate it. We act like the pair of ballet dancers. Or the friend that finishes your sentences.
She is my child with the most degrees, and who works 200 yds from the Capitol.
Maybe I made some mistakes -- all my children can sing this song. Maybe to show them daddy was not always a preacher man.
If I will my house to my children I give them a fish for the day, if I teach them to fish they will even provide for others.
Back to homework. One time my brother just like in Mark Twain got me into painting this picket fence. He ran off to go do whatever. So he taught me not to be a sap again. Next time I insisted he teach me how to paint the fence right. We had a blast and I stole his next customer. Fine on him he took a percentage. I think that we did real work together.
Now one day I kind of really wrecked my bosses van. Sentence was meted out. When we had not seen above 20 degree temperatures in a week I was handed a pick axe and told to dig up sewer lines of 30 ft apiece. That danged rocky top soil was frozen down 20 inches and it was like concrete. That was work. Learning something is fun fun fun.
I had been reading some deep stuff about being in the moment and yet it bent it’s way toward empowerment and cognitive dissonance. So then I was reading Seuss with my son and feeling all in the moment helping him and teaching him and I dang well felt queasy. What happened? I was wrapped up in me!
Perhaps think this way; I am driving home and have to get the dinner on and make my son do his homework. Can you see your thought turning fun into “shoulds”? Therein lies the trap of homework. Where did this all too common concept come from?
Now we do not recommend totally reframing our perspective. What we are looking for is you having as a relaxing learning time with your child where you also learn and you learn with. I had a nine year old, Hayley a 6 year old Brooks and a 3 year old Addy. The story of the Cat in the Hat was read by Hayley and I, with brooks picking out word and wild faces thrown at Addy. It was not a have to it was a get too. The shark was marinating, the potatoes were in the oven and the salad was ready to be torn and corn was soaking in sea water ready to come out to broil and of course all of those were our science lesson for the day. (oh yea baby if you live right on the ocean you just get sea water and soak the corn husk and all then barbeque with the husk on and – oh baby that is some great corn)
I have been very fortunate to learn with my children early. I was blessed when my daughter studying for her masters called me up with a hypothetical to debate.
We reap what we sew, I beg of you do not sew have to’s and shoulds. Sew get to’s and I can’s. Perhaps some efforts yield food and shelter, but nothing yields like helping a child to enjoy learning. This is truly the greatest gift on earth – don’t miss out.