Monday, June 3, 2013

Handling the homework situation

I probably should give an update on the "no-yelling" challenge.

It's been tough to maintain a calm demeanor when the Teenager is talking back/being lazy/being stubborn...or dare I say it, just flat out being stupid. (don't judge me for proclaiming to the internet world that my teenager sometimes acts stupid) but....I have reduced the yelling drastically. 

Sometimes, I still raise my voice...not to the point of yelling non-stop, but that firm, tone of voice. When I worked in the middle and high schools, I called it my "teacher voice" and told my students all the time to make sure I don't have to use my "teacher voice". 

This self-imposed no yelling challenge, for me, has been about the teenagers school/homework situation. Without going into to much detail, the teenager has always had a difficult time in school. Generally, he is the type of person that if something seems too difficult or frustrating, his initial thought is to say "screw it". The thing is, if he put in some effort and determination, he could do a lot more than he wants to give himself credit for. 

Anyways, I emailed his teacher and asked for daily emails regarding his homework completion from the night before as well as what his homework will be for the night. In addition, she also reports how his behavior was for the day. 

I also sit down with the Teenager to check his homework, daily. Its annoying and time consuming on both of our parts. The teenager gets irritated having to go through every piece of homework with me and even more irritated when I tell him he needs to fix something or put in more effort. This is usually where the long groan comes in followed by the phrase, "it's fiiiiiine",  and where I have to bite my tongue to not scream at him for being rude or saying what I am really thinking: "Well, if you just put the effort in the first time around, you wouldn't have to go back for a second time."

I know it's more important to stay calm during these moments because raising my voice is only going to cause more damage than good. To me, having the teenager learn the process of hard work and effort on something that he finds difficult is more important than causing fights about  his reactions to it. Baby steps. It's all about the baby steps. 

But....its working! For the past 2-3 weeks that the daily emails have been going on, the teenager has been more honest about his homework, and hasn't had to stay in for recess AT ALL because of missing homework. And....his behavior has been great this whole time as well. It really seems that his own awareness has increased! His teacher has reported that he is participating more appropriately during class discussions and asks relevant questions about his homework. I think its because, when he has a difficult problem on his homework, I force him to write down the problem, and to write down why he can't figure out the answer. This, in turn, has allowed him to really understand how to ask the right question when they go over the homework instead of just copying down the answers, and in essence, giving up on it.

I'm really proud of him lately.

And I have been very sure to let him know all of his efforts have been paying off.

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