how i won the nightly homework battle

When my oldest daughter started bringing homework home (i think i twas the third grade) our school nights became a battleground. my daughter would bring out every arsenal within her power…and it was exhausting. i dreaded homework. my daughter didn’t understand homework was non-non-negationable. ย she wanted me to do it. i didnt want to. she didn’t want to…i had to end it.

i had to tell her the truth…

i confessed to her that she works harder then grown ups do.

“I do?!” she said, absolutely shocked.

“Oh, yes, children work harder than most of their parents.” i said. she asked how. “grown ups have already gone through school & have learned what they loved to do the most. then they chose a job that allows them (hopefully) to do what they like. YOU, have to do things you do not like, or things that you are not good at…you have to learn to sit still, learn to listen, do your math, writing, reading, science, social studies, gym, art, music, Spanish AND you have to figure out how to stand in line, find someone to sit with, make friends, deal with teachers & other kids you do not get along with…you have to learn a NEW DIFFERENT SOMETHING every single day, you have to remember a thousand things” I said.

“A grown up did what you do, finished school, learning what she/he was best at. imagine someone loving science, so they could study hard to become a doctor, or a scientist. this grown up does science things all day long & they are happy.” (Hopefully)

“But its too hard now!” she whined.

“Absolutely, it is. Do you remember learning your ABC’S, how hard that was?”

“But that is sooooo easy, what i do now is harder!” She whined.

“yup, but you said it was too hard to learn how to read & how to write & add 1+1=, but you did learn those things. School is like a set of stairs, every step becomes harder, but you become stronger & smarter with every step up. School is your job, the hardest job in the whole wide world…this is what we should do from now on. You come home & crash, eat (no electronics) after you eat, then do your homework. then you can zone out in front of the tv. AND when we get your report card, your teacher is telling us how hard you are working. a grown up that works, gets paid for their work. If you chose to work hard at your job, than this is how you will be paid…”

A=$10.00, B=$5.oo, ONE C=$2.00. More than one C means you will be paid less for all your grades. A=$5.00, B=$2.50, C=$0. And if you receive a D, you will not be paid for your job. If a grown up doesn’t do a good job, they might get fired!”

“People can get fired for not doing good at their job?” she asked, shocked.

“Yup, so from now on, it is up to YOU to see who hard you want to work. No more battles for homework, bring questions, but no more whining…if it becomes a battle, then you put your homework, in your backpack, unfinished & explain to your teacher why you didn’t do it”

“oh, that would be bad” she said.

“yes, but it is your choice, do you want ย to earn some money?” i asked.

“YES!!!! I’m gonna be rich!!!” she yelled

and she was.

After this, there were no more fights. BECAUSE I VALIDATED HER FEELINGS about how hard school is. I EMPOWERED HER TO WORK HARD for her job. and from that day to this, she has been a mostly A student. Now she is a jr in college & earns straight A’s.

I have two younger children, and when they started school, they received the same job offer. While they earned “S” for the first three years, they earned a dollar an S. Which is a lot of ones for a five year old. and they would watch their big sister receive $50…and they drooled.

PS a fantastic teaching tool, i found, was to pay the younger kids & then take them to the dollar store, they learned restraint, they had to think if something was better now, or to wait for their next pay check-they learned about taxes. having mom & dad buy everything your kids want is nice, but it is FAR BETTER that they earn some of their money. and easier on parents, because if you buy them everything, then when you do not want to buy them something, you have a battle on your hands. you have taught them whining, sulking, tantrums works…which is normal for a 2 year old, but not a 10+ year old.

i was told when my kids were small, that i only had them for 18 years, in those years i had to teach them how to become a grown up. it changed how i felt about everything. sending them off to college without life lessons, would be akin to clipping their wings & throwing them into the wind. i teach my kids how to cook, do laundry, fold clothes, earn extra money for more difficult jobs…my middle daughter is now 15 & she earns $5 for every meal she cooks, & my son has just started doing this as well, he is 13. the difference of earning & being handed money makes a big difference. You can make your child more confident & self sufficient by telling them the truth. i wish everyone luck.

 

19 thoughts on “how i won the nightly homework battle

    1. Thanks for reading it. I was so tired of fighting with her. I came up with the idea, because i had been told by my Rabbi about having only 18years with her. I was shocked that it worked. But having money of her (and then my other two) was powerful because she had earned it. Thanks for reading. ~amy

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  1. I tried your approach, but to no effect. While reading your essay, I thought you had been brought up on too much e.e. cummings (one of my favorite poets), and applied his poetic use of many uncapitalized words that in essays should be capitalized.

    Once my daughter showed me a paper she had written to critique since I taught college composition classes. I told her I would give her an F. She turned it in as she had written it and received an A which pleased her and horrified me. Perhaps in high school you had teachers like hers or maybe you just don’t like the shift key or use cummings poetic techniques in an even more unusual way.

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    1. OH…this is embarrassing. i have pain in my left pinky when i attempt to shift. instead of making it worse, i stopped doing it. which has helped with the pain. i’m also a bit lazy. AND another excuse, when i type anything on my blog, i have to use safari & i can type, watch the rainbow spin, as my blog is trying to keep up with me (according to WordPress, i have too much on the site to make it run a little quicker). which is EXTREMELY frustrating, i seldom write more than a sentence or two. that being said, writing the post took an hour & a half to complete…by then i’d lost all abilities to edit (or release my clenched jaw). so…i’m sure you’ve given me an F, but being 47 years old, so i can handle it. thanks for reading it, i’m sure it was painful. ~amy

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      1. Amy, I am sorry about your pain and I am sorry for my prissy excollege instructor comments. I am borderline diabetic and sometimes have tingling or sharp pain in anyone of my fingers. Since I’ve lost 75 pounds though this has really subsided. Keep using those small letters rather than capitals. The essay was still very readable. Since I mentioned him in relation to your use of little rather than capitals, if you haven’t read much by e.e. cummings, give him a Try.

        Since feeling is first
        E. E. Cummings

        SINCE FEELING IS FIRST LYRICS

        since feeling is first
        who pays any attention
        to the syntax of things
        will never wholly kiss you;
        wholly to be a fool
        while Spring is in the world

        my blood approves
        and kisses are a better fate
        than wisdom
        lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
        โ€”the best gesture of my brain is less than
        your eyelids’ flutter which says

        we are for each other: then
        laugh, leaning back in my arms
        for life’s not a paragraph

        and death i think is no parenthesis
        e.e. cummings.

        This is my all time favorite love poem. I hope you enjoy it.

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      2. i didn’t take your comments as prissy, i felt defensive at first. but really, i am asking to have people comment on my typing and my horrible editing skills. AND i have fallen in love with the poem you wrote. i can understand why it is your favorite. i plan on typing it up CORRECTLY (is Spring the only letter he capitalized?) and making it my favorite too.

        i have fibromyalgia, one of the nasty symptoms it causes me, is tingling in my fingers/hands as well. BUT boy i am jealous of your weight loss. I have a broken pubic bone, its akin to driving around a car without a tire, it just makes everything impossible to do to lose the weight i want. So CONGRATULATIONS on losing 75lb…I hope we ‘meet’ again. ~amy

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    1. Hi Irene, Thank you for your awesome compliment. i am so grateful to my Rabbi for letting me know what it takes to raise my children. i probably would have done everything for them, not really thinking they’ve outgrown the need for me. i think a lot of mom’s out there really want to feel needed, thus turning their children into weak adults. maybe? ~amy

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      1. Wow. Thank you, Irene. I sometimes get upset from hearing about helicopter parenting. It seems so very selfish to believe parents have the right to take over a child’s responsibility away. Life is so very hard, i wish parents understood the danger they are putting their children in. So i vent…on a blog, that is too slow to keep up with my typing, it takes an hour to write something like that because i have to wait for the rainbow wheel to stop turning, so by the time i’m done, i am so very done with it. I’m glad you could understand my point. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~amy

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  2. Amy, I loved this. I agree completely with everything you said. Research shows that homework is not necessary and can be very harmful. I’ve never understood the benefits. Thanks for your post! Linda

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Hi Linda, thank you for reading it. Hannah’s grades were straight A’s her Sophomore year. i asked her what classes she had taken…statistics (Uncle will love that) physics, psychology…i cannot recall the rest. Hannah has been smarter then me, since the 6th grade, i think. thank you! ~amy

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