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Shhhhhh! Don’t tell him he’s doing extra homework

Submitted by on Thursday, 16 December 2010 3 Comments

Like most of my instances of parenting genius, this one was pure dumb luck, too. Not to mention laziness.

It was a Sunday night at the end of a hectic weekend, and I just did not feel like making the guys read. Neither did I feel like reading to them, though I would have if this hadn’t worked.

“I’m tired,” I whined, stretching and yawning for dramatic effect. “Why don’t you read me a story?”

Big Guy blinked. “Me? Me read to you? Sounds great!”

Sounds great? That wasn’t what I’d expected. I’d envisioned a five-minute debate, followed by 10 minutes spent selecting books. Instead, he went straight to the corner beside the bed known as Mount Library and began rummaging through volumes.

“What would you like to hear?” he asked Boots. I hadn’t expected that one either.

“I want to hear the mouse book! The one where you take  him to the movies!” he replied, smiling and clapping.  Careful there, kid, I thought. You’re going to blow it if your brother figures out that this is making you happy.

Instead, Big Guy nodded agreeably. “OK. We’ll read that one. And the shark book.”

He grabbed both books and stretched out in the middle of the bed. Boots settled in next to him. Apparently the “he’s touching me” cooties they’d both suffered earlier that day were gone.

And then Big Guy read. For a half hour. That’s 10 minutes more than his required nightly reading for those of you who are scoring at home. It’s also in addition to his “homework” reading, which he fusses and growls through when he does it each afternoon.

Part of the reason:  The books Boots selects are at least a grade-level below Big Guy’s abilities, but that’s OK. He’s reading with inflection, and there’s been a noticeable carry over to his ability-level reading. He actually notices exclamation points and question marks now.

The rest is because Big Guy is picking the topic on the second book. Snakes, motorcycles, World War II. It’s stuff he’s far more interested in than his “homework” reading, though I don’t quite get that since he picks the book for his homework reading, too.

Boots is more interested as well, though he did worry briefly that Nazis were going to come and get him when Big Guy started reading the World War II book. We managed to reassure him. “They’re gone,” Big Guy said. “The Army kicked their butts.”

Of course, it’s also a way to stall sleep. He’ll usually work an extra 10 minutes of “lights on” time each night, and he knows it, too.

Pure parenting genius!

I’m not sure how long this will last, but I do know that Santa has reserved a “Magic  School Bus” boxed set for Boots for Christmas. That should keep us rolling for a while, as long as I don’t make the mistake of telling them that they have to read.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Kristina said:

    And you never thought they’d love reading to mom. =) Pure genius!!!

  • Debra said:

    Honestly, I didn’t! I’ve been doing buddy reading with Big Guy for about a year, and it worked great at first but he’s been balking for the past few months. “Reading out loud is for babies!” he’d tell me.

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