Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Parenting Fail?

Last night Ben and I were working on homework when I realized he needed notebook paper.  Believe it or not but I'm not a fan of notebook paper, especially that of the spiral bound kind with the "nasty edge" that gets all over the floor.  I actually forbid assignments on it in my own class and takes off points if students turn in work with nasty edge.  I'm a killjoy in the realm of office supplies.

I remembered that on my shelf of school supplies I had a one subject notebook with a cover from the movie Tommy Boy.  The same Tommy Boy of "Fat man little coat" song fame or "it doesn't hurt here or here, but my face hurts here".  Stop me, as I can go one on one with lines.  I saw this movie three times in an actual theater when it came out.  Once with friends, once with Bill and once with my brother.  What does that say about me?

I digress.

Part of Ben's nightly homework includes math and a reading journal.  Earlier in the year he had to fill in a sheet giving the title of the book and a summery of the book read.  His teacher is moving to open-ended questions that students must include the question in the answer and then answer in complete sentences.  Ben had three questions to complete last night and when I looked over his work I could not read a single answer. Ben rushes through everything to be done and move on to something else.  A perfectionist he is not.

I told him he had to redo all of it until it was legible.  I sat with him and wrote out a template showing how to record each day with title, date, and then which questions he was answering.

Here was the before:

And the after:
Overall he is having a good 2nd grade year.  I am surprised at the amount of work they complete in a given day based on what is coming home on the weekend.  We take a few minutes each weekend and clean out his backpack and go through his weekly folder of work.  We have built rewards into the bear buck box for overall work effort during the week.  Ben is at least upfront in telling me what he likes to do (most math and science that involves what sounds like a 2nd grade version of a lab) and what he hates, any type of writing unless it is on a computer.

Over the weekend I helped him study for a math test.  It was a first helping one of my OWN kids study for a test.  We spent time working back through problems from homework, watching the online links that his teacher had sent of how to do this "new" math of math "mountains" and writing subtraction in expanded form. I wrote out problems for him to complete and then then had him check his work.  He reported Monday that he thought he had done ok and that one of the problems I wrote was similar to one on his test.  *Note, if you can teach it back to me, you have cleared the gate.

As we round into the last 2 1/2 days before the holiday break Ben is counting down the days of school and told me he is planning on leaving his backpack in my car the entire break.    I hear you, Ben.

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