School Update: The Good, The Bad, and The Flora

1. Kate has been a rock star (well, until this week*). She has consistently completed her homework in Extended Day. She comes home and does her evening chore. There are some slight issues about her behavior when she’s hungry — because she’s not just hungry, she’s starving to death, of course.

Oh, yeah, we have chores going on. Each week, the girls either have to set and clear the table, or wash the dishes. The time I gain in my evenings due to having the girls do one chore each evening — one! — has been remarkable.

Kate sometimes has to be reminded to get her chore started, but once she starts, she goes from start to finish without stopping. I help with dishwashing, making sure things are cleaned and well-rinsed, then I dry and put away most of the dishes.

Because of her exemplary behavior these past two weeks, Kate has earned a special Katie-Mom day this weekend. I really couldn’t be prouder of her.

Katie and me

(*This week, she has complained of stomach pain. She’s missed two days of school. No fever, but we are heading to the pediatrician’s office this afternoon.)

2. Ha, ha, just kidding. I just wanted a catchy headline.

Michael is *thrilled* to be in preschool. He loves just about everything about being a “big boy”: his teacher, his backpack, his folder. He actually seems to like Tuesdays and Thursdays best now — “Do I go upstairs today?” he will ask. The preschool classroom is upstairs. “Yup,” I’ll say. He’ll do a fist pump: “YESSS!”

It’s ridiculous.

He had no trouble transitioning back into the daycare setting either. Didn’t even faze him. I think he missed his little buddies.

My cheeseball

3. We may have turned the corner on this one. It remains to be seen.

My children, Kate and Flora, are responsible for doing their homework in Extended Day. This is a habit I tried last year to get started with them. Mileage, as they say, varied.

This year, I put down the law. Homework gets done at Extended Day. If they needed help with something, they could save it for home, but the majority of it has to get done before I pick them up. And, yeah, they have to motivate and monitor themselves. I am not going to put responsibility on the EDS proctor.

Flora has consistently chosen not to do her homework. I would find her playing on a computer at Extended Day, and she would turn to me and say, “Oh. Um, I didn’t do my homework.” After about a week of this, I said, “Why aren’t you doing your homework?”

“Homework is a waste of time.”
“You think homework is a waste of time.”
“Yes. Also farts.” (I took this to mean she thought homework was farts, not that farts were a waste of time.)

“Fine,” I said. “I’m taking the 3DS away.” And I did.

A day or two after this conversation, there was a note in her math book. She hadn’t done her homework for two days in a row. So she was either telling me she did it at Extended Day and didn’t, or she was telling me she was doing it at home, and didn’t. Either way I trusted her. That’s over!

(No, I don’t check my children’s homework. They do that in school. Of course, now I check to make sure they actually did it.)

Two days into this week, Flora has done her homework both days. I have checked, and helped her with a couple of problems she skipped because she didn’t understand the question (distributive property, ahoy!). She asked for the 3DS back, and I said that we had to get through the week first.

I haven’t signed her up for violin yet — that’s a matter of disorganization on my part. She has soccer practice Tuesdays and Thursdays, and chorus on Wednesdays, so getting her homework done is even more vital.

Also, she hasn’t done well with the chore. She starts and stops, starts and stops. She’ll set out dishes and wander away. I have to call her back time and again to finish. When she was not doing her homework in Extended Day, she didn’t have time to do her chore — and boy did she ever milk that.

This week, as I said, has been better. She has washed dishes (she gets frustrated rinsing all the soap off them). We really need to fix our dishwasher. The girls also help with laundry (mostly putting clean clothes away) and vacuuming.

And, we’ve only been late once, and that was due to construction. It’s a new record!

4. So, that’s where we stand in the middle of September. Flora loves to learn, but she sincerely hates homework. And chores.

Life is rough. /sarcasm

What do you think? Anything else I can do to help Flora get her work done? After she gets the 3DS back, what’s next?

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4 thoughts on “School Update: The Good, The Bad, and The Flora

  1. Put all of this together and I think Flora has some concentration issues. ADD? Probably not. But she clearly has trouble getting from the beginning of one task to the end of it. And trouble with starting a task she doesn’t like (homework).

    1. HOMEWORK. She says homework is a waste of time. Have you asked her whether she likes to get good grades? And pointed out that homework has a lot to do with earning those good grades? Whether she finds it a waste of time or not, those are points she’s not earning and it’s dragging her grades down. In that case, it’s no longer a waste of time because it means she gets A’s.

    2. Everything else: Well. I think you need strategies for dealing with her concentration issues. I don’t know exactly what that is but can you try doubling up tasks? For example, Flora is working on dishes – while she does that, quiz her on her times tables or have her spell her spelling words out loud. She has to use her brain for the schoolwork and it will make her less likely to wander away from the chore at hand. Maybe for homework have her set a timer and see how far she can get in the time allotted. Or give her something to do with her hands while she has to work her mind. I had a friend that used to knit in her college lectures because it helped her concentrate on what the professor was saying.

    I know Flora can concentrate on things like video games or TV endlessly. I think that’s a different kettle of fish, though. There’s A LOT of input in video games – visual and physical – and that’s the kind of thing she’s going to excel with when she’s fidgety. The fact of the matter is that Flora is whip smart and that means she’s going to bore easily with things she doesn’t find all that interesting. It might not hurt to go in and speak with her teacher(s) about all of this and see if they have ideas for keeping Flora engaged.

  2. Flora sounds like me, having a hard time concentrating. Perhaps an ipod with headphones/music? That way she can tune out her surroundings (which has to be distracting with a busy house) and just get her job done.

    Also, does she get any down time? She has school, then after school, then chores/dinner, then activity, every day (betw violin/soccer/chorus). Is she stretched too thin? Perhaps if she is having trouble getting it all done then something has to give, and I’d say her activities. If she refuses to do homework and chore, whelp, sorry girlfriend, no time for soccer either. Because this is what happens in real life. You do your responsibilities first, then fun.

    Oh, and I love Michael’s jammies 😉 and GO KATE! rock on girlfriend!

  3. Whether or not homework is a waste of time is irrelevant. It is her job. Her job is to go to school and do her work. She doesn’t have to like it but she has to do it. That mmay be harsh, but it’s a presentation that takes the burden off of you. You and Dan have your jobs, the kids have theirs. If you don’t do your work, you don’t get the privileges, such as not having a paycheck to have a house and food. She needs to do her job to get her privileges, such as the 3DS. I think taking it away was absolutely the right thing to do. Then if she does her job, she gets the privilege back. If it takes a week of demonstrating that, so be it. We do the same thing at our house. At home we have a pair of those airport headphones that silence out noise for our daughter to use during homework time be be distraction free, but it doesn’t sound like that’s too much of the case. This seems more behavioral. It’s the way of the world, you don’t do your work you don’t get to do the fun stuff.

  4. Thank you all for advice and suggestions.

    Flora does have attention issues. When she doesn’t want to do something, of course, it is harder to pay attention to it. When she puts in the time and the work, she does just fine.

    Flora’s attention issues are not something I want to medicate, nor do I think she needs medication. I think she needs to learn strategies to develop focus. Which I understand is hard. Extended Day is not conducive to sitting alone and doing homework. I wonder if I could find her a homework buddy, even if it’s Kate. Hm. Will think about that.

    Cari, interesting idea to have her do school work (or some mental task) while doing her chore. I’ll see if I can implement something.

    PPMDad, I have expressed homework in exactly those terms. Going to school, too. Mommy has her job; Daddy has his job; you children have your job. Go to school, do your work, help around the house.

    And, TMT, I do think maybe an iPod or music player with earbuds may help Flora concentrate as well. I’m sure we have extra electronics around she can use.

    A couple other things I am thinking of doing include something as simple as a watch with an alarm to let her know when she has to start her homework, or even a daily after school to-do list. She’s motivated by rewards and by pleasing people. She *hates* to disappoint, but I’m not sure I want to cultivate that. I’d rather the motivation come from understanding her responsibility.

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