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The anti-homework homework works for Big Guy

Submitted by on Thursday, 18 December 2008 No Comment

Don’t tell Big Guy’s teacher, but I tossed the “suggested homework” list shortly after it walked through the door at the end of the semester.

Halfway through kindergarten, I’m officially sick of homework even though I promised a few weeks ago to stop ranting because I know it’s going to get worse. I get that a certain amount might be needed, simply to make sure new skills are enforced at home. But stop with the overkill

In the three weeks since Big Guy’s been off, though, we’ve found plenty of ways to reinforce without picking up a single flash card.

*** Big Guy hates the one-sentence stories he writes every evening when he’s in school. But letters are fun, particularly when there’s a self-serving reason to do so.

Never mind that their letters to Claus address him as Dr Santa. The honorific might even earn them extra points. And it’s kind of cool that he asked for Tomas, the Latino version of the tank engine, for his brother. Diversity is good.

*** Big Guy despises drawings, and the illustrations that go with his nightly stories usually draw whines of “I just don’t know how.”

But there’s a pizza on my patio window right now. It’s under a Christmas tree. I think it’s a visual reminder for Santa, in case he forgets that Big Guy wants him to bring pizza.

Yes, Crayola Washable Window Markers really work, and the joy of creating on a previously banned surface has spurred the guys to greater artistic heights. Plus the drawings disappear easily with a few sprays of Windex. Luckily, the guys like to clean windows, too.

*** Big Guy defaults rapidly to “let’s get it over with” mode when forced to go over his “sight word” flash cards every night. But he eagerly identifies those words — and more — when a story comes into play.

We’ve turned reading time into a joint effort. He sits on my lap — bonus points for him for being able to evict Boots from that spot — and we both read. I’m taking the lead right now, pausing to let him read words I know he knows — but soon we’ll be able to reverse that.

*** Writing practice bores Big Guy to tears. Literally. But it’s not “practice” when he’s penning names on gift tags or writing the grocery list. He doesn’t even mind that I won’t spell the names for him, asking him instead to sound out the words.

*** Ask a 5-year-old to study history or religion? Forget it. But we get a nightly dose of both through our tacky little Fisher Price nativity set. Even if Boots does get confused at times and think Joseph has to watch the baby so Mary can “go do her work.”

No homework? No problem. We’re doing great.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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