What would you do, if your child, who is gifted and usually a straight A student, came home with a D on his report card? Go ballistic on the teacher? Smack a butt and dole out laundry duty for a year? Shrug and tell him, “Better luck next time”? Well, it happened to us. I did none of the above, although they all crossed my mind to be completely honest (plus, I could get out of laundry for a year!! A “d” is almost worth it).
After lots of questions, prodding, and inquires, we finally got to the root of the problem. He was “forgetting” to turn in some paragraphs each week, and those missing points were adding up. Want to know the REAL kicker?? The class he has a D in is Physical Education. Yup, good ole gym class.
For those of you who don’t know this already, I’m a teacher. Family and Consumer Sciences is my field (Old name: Home Ec.) so I know the plight of a specialist- aka non-core subject teacher. With the new rules about writing across the curriculum and the push to never leave a child behind, specialists, who usually grade student performance instead of paperwork, are forced to weave some sort of writing into the lesson each day.
Please don’t mistake my words here- I do think that this makes sense in a way. We want our kids to be more successful in reading and writing, so we make them do more of it. Logically, it seems it would work. Is it though? In my humble opinion, the verdict is still out.
See, kids like my son need to be physical. They need to run, jump, skip, play, hang from monkey bars, chase each other around the playground, etc. in order to be able to focus and fully engage in the more academic areas of the school day. Gym class is another avenue for the physical activity that kids so desperately need right now in our technology driven, sit in front of a screen and become a giant couch potato world we live in. Instead, they are writing papers (or not writing papers and getting D’s). I do not blame the teachers. I blame the system.
I could rant about this particular subject for several more pages, but I will spare you. What I really wanted to share today, was how we got him to do his homework. Since finding out about this low grade and the silly reason behind it (forgetting is never an excuse!! Uh, do as I say not as I do, kid…), we’ve been sitting down with him each week and encouraging him to write. The first paper was a breeze. Little complaining. He was done in just a few minutes. As the weeks bore on, each paper was harder and harder to get done. LOTS of whining and gnashing of teeth over a few little sentences. One night, my husband had had enough. He told Kole that the next week, he was going to write the assignment himself. Kole was shocked, but pleased and went to bed happy. Fast forward to a week later (last night). My husband gets home from work and sits down with Kole to write his assignment.
I knew something was up, because a.) We are not the kind of parents who do their kids work for them and b.) Z’s face had a silly little grin on it the whole time he was writing. He passed the paper to me for approval and asked me to read it aloud.
This is what I read:
My exercise plan:
This week I did the deadlift
And then I did some curls
I try to do the pushups, but
I do them like a girl.
I need to eat my vegetables
Like squash, and kale, and peas.
Because I have some abs, I really do
But they’re sheathed in Mac-N-Cheese.
You’ve never seen a 10 year old write so fast in his life. He told his dad not to worry about it, that he could write his own paper from now on…..
And that, my Friends, is how we got our ten year old to do his homework. Good ole fashion fear of embarrassment. Works like a charm.
I’m kinda hoping Z gets to help again next week.
Have you ever “helped” your child with homework? What do you think of the educational system…what needs improved?? Please share in the comments; I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Post a comment!
"This is a great post showing how concerned parents can make a difference in their kids lives! Great job Dad (and Mom too!)"
By Sharon on 12/11/2013
"Bahahahaha! That surely would get me to do my own homework!"
By Dawn on 12/11/2013
"Oh, and the other thing I was going to say is that as a teacher I do hate when the first thing parents do is blame the teacher w/out finding out what the actual problem is.
If the kid isn't doing the work or refuses to participate there isn't much a teacher can do about it (can't force them -- can only give them the tools to succeed and encourage them); but on the other hand they probably should have let you know before it got to the point of a D!
By Jesica H on 12/11/2013
"Oh I love that! Now if I could only get my 6yr old son to do his spelling words without whining every night.
Last night this was what happened:
After fighting with my son for at least 1/2 an hour to write his spelling words... he finally did it and brought them to me. I looked at it and told him good job, thank you for doing that. And THANK YOU FOR NOT WHINING AT ALL! He just gave me this look like, wtf? and smirked...that made me and my husband bust out laughing...which of course made him mad that we were laughing.
I'm not sure if will help him do his spelling w/out whining, but we had a good laugh. "
By Jesica H on 12/11/2013
"Hilarious AND effective! LOVE THAT! My son is like yours, good grades and doesnt need help with homework, and THANK GOD because I would NOT like that hassle in my life. I think you made the right decision because you ultimately got him to do his own work on his own!"
By jenny at dapperhouse on 12/11/2013
"now if we can only figure out a way for him to eat his veggies....."
By Rainbow Warrior on 12/11/2013
By Tiffani on 12/11/2013
"I agree totally !!!! Having a child who also NEEDS to be active it does effect them when they have to be still all the time. There is plenty research out there that even shows the difference in learning in different kids . I don't really understand it . Kids do need to do written work but they also need to work with there hands. Many job trades are physical labor especially in boys . So if we program them to be still and quit are we preparing them also for the active part of working ? I don't know maybe as JT gets older i will understand it better . I love zac's homework help !!!!! Bingo !!! As always thanks for sharing"
By Brandy on 12/11/2013