Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting in the Grove and Teaching Independence

As the school year has progressed so has the amount of home work expected of Thing One. The latest edition to the homework pile has been a weekly writing assignment. This assignment requires a idea sheet, rough draft, and final draft to be completed and brought to school on Friday, the assignment comes home the Friday before. Usually we work on getting homework done on the weekend, we do this so we don't have as much over head during the week.
In trying to teach Thing One to better manage herself, her time and her thoughts, these writing assignments have become the Sunday drag out.  We start around 10 with reading the expectations of the assignment and talk about the idea page and what should be written, what ideas Thing One has and what she might want to write. At this point in the day she walks off to work on the assignment in the office and Thing Two and I do his homework in the living room.  Within about 40 minutes Thing Two has completed all the possible homework I can throw at a 6 year old and is near vibrating with excitement to go outside.  I yell to check on Thing Two, "working on it" is all I hear. Thing Two heads outside and One continues to plod.
By 12, while I am making lunch Thing One has brought me the idea sheet and is ready to talk about things. I remind her of the need for neatness and spelling, and also the fact that the assignment directions are a for a true story, somehow silliness always ensues when she is left to her own devices. After discussions about what is needed for the rough draft, what still needs to be done on the idea sheet, it's lunch time. Lunch and a bit of quiet time follow.  Thing Two once again heads outside around 130 and One heads back to the office to continue the plod.
As I sit, occasionally asking what Thing One is up to and checking to make sure Two hasn't caught the backyard on fire, I stew. It is now around 3, Thing One has spent the vast majority of the day inside, working on an assignment that should not have taken her more than an hour or so max. I want to help her, I want to guide her, I want to RIDE HER TO GET IT DONE. I know I can't help, I know she she needs to figure out how to ask when she needs help and how to get it done on her own. She has so many great attributes, but I suspect we will be spending many a Sunday sitting around waiting for Thing One to sort it all out.
Around 4 Thing One emerges with her rough draft complete...sign. I have been listening at the door for 20 minutes trying to figure out what she has been doing in there for two and a half hours, and only 7 sentences have been produced. I read through it, correct the spelling, pronunciation, we talk about making sure the order makes sense, and generally making sure she gets it. My spelling, grammar, and general sentence structure and paragraph structure are usually horrid, I almost failed English grammar.  We get through this, and Thing One once again continues off to muck with her assignment. Time ticks by, with me honestly concerned about what she has been doing....
At 6 dinner is served and Thing One emerges with no paper in hand. We eat and she goes back to the grind, I feel like I am torturing her, though she doesn't seem quite so bothered to spend the day hanging out in the office alone. By 8 a paper has been delivered, the paper is sloppy, has tons of erase marks and looks like something the dog chewed on and spit out. I accept it as good enough, though she is fine with this imposed torture, I can't stand it. I do remind her, a score lower than 9 will require her to rewrite this at recess, she is fine and moves on with her evening.
Today I corner her concerning spending the day working on her paper. I remind her that these paragraphs are only going to get more detailed and longer. She shrugs, "I Know".  I ask her if she was writing the whole time.
"No, I spaced off some too"
I just walk away, we are different people and I just need to roll with this, but I don't want the Sundays for the foreseeable future spent trapped inside waiting for Thing One to finish spacing off and get her work done.

1 comment:

  1. I sit next to Margot at the table to make sure it gets done. She is now doing her math/spelling work independently, I have to remind her to do it but I no longer have to sit next to her while she does it. Maybe we'll get to that same place with the writing assignments. She has to write her final draft today. The grandparents did make sure she did some homework while we were in Jackson Hole but the writing assignment would have been a bit much to ask. Have a great Thursday.