Yesterday Kai came home with an extra book; “I must write a story” he said.
The first thing that came to mind was that surely this could not be it? I message the class group to find out if any of the other kids had more information…Nope, they just need to write a story. About anything.
Now homework can either be very pleasant or an experience that makes me cringe and cry out for sanity, patience and the guidance to keep my calm and just walk away and count to 100!
“The scooby-doo race track for skateboarding”. My son’s story, his words, his idea.
Do you have any idea how challenging it is for a 7 year old to not only come up with a story, but to also write the story! He started by sounding out the words, like he’s been learning in speech therapy, “the scoo-bee-doo ra-ce a-t th-e”.
Putting these five words on paper took him about twenty minutes, twnety minutes of constant sounding out and re-reading the entire sentence as he wrote.
Then came “race track for ska-te-boar-ding”. Now to get to this point he repeated the first part of his sentence numerous times as he wrote it down.
All this in-between great frustrations, shouting, crying and throwing his pencils and erasers at me because matching the sound to the letters is an enormous task for him, all his frustrations are directed at me for “telling” him what to do, at his teacher for giving him such hard work (“how can teachers expect small children to do such hard work”), at his silly pencil for not writing what he tells it to write…
All this while I try and keep my calm to ensure he at least completes the first part of his story. We have a rule, we do not go to bed until we’ve finished the homework that we set out to do. The only exception is when he is too tired and it’s not just a case of “giving up” because it is too difficult.
This is not easy, sometimes he becomes so frustrated (books go flying, pencils go flying, paper gets torn, etc.) and I have to leave the room and tell him that I cannot work with him when he is like this. I then put his books away and wait for him to calm down and tell me when he is ready to continue with his homework (this really works, putting the ball in his court, his move when he is ready and calm).
Yesterday was one of those days…and we agreed to finish the first part of his story only and do the rest tomorrow (today).
Well this evening he was eager to finish his story! He calmly sat at his desk and read what he wrote yesterday “the skobidoo RAS at the RAS trac for scAtbording” and continued…”casual day is to raise funds for poor children”.
I was amazed that he incorporated “casual day” into his story and pleasantly surprised that he combined his favorite character, scooby-doo, with an event that we are both looking forward to, Casual Day!
He quietly, with my help, wrote out “casual day is to rase Funds For Poor childrun” and then started illustrating his story. He worked on it for 30 minutes, taking great care to get the mystery machine vehicle parked in just the right place on his page.
I know my son. I know when to push and when to pull back. My son is oblivious to the frustration he experienced yesterday, he went to bed this evening feeling very proud of his beautiful story and his colorful drawings.
This evening I again realised how resilient my son is and how easy it could be to just give up and take the easy way out, but instead we persevere and push-on…
Last night before he fell asleep he said “sorry mom”. Tonight before he fell asleep he said “my story is lovely hey mom”.
The message: just because a task seem so difficult does not mean that it is impossible to complete; the end result may be so great that you forget just how frustrating and challenging it was when you started.