Back to the first days of school

At the beginning of every school year, I would always make myself acquainted with my boys teachers, I still do this with my youngest son.  By working in a neighboring school district, most years the “meet the teacher” night fell on the same night, so attending my sons was impossible.  I would make my initial contact via email.  I would send a greeting, introducing myself and passing along my contact information, including my cell and office phone numbers and email addresses, and give permission for them to contact me when necessary.  When my boys where very young, I would let teachers in on some tidbits that would make getting to know my child easier.  For my middle son, Id explain how shy he was and that asking for direct eye contact from him would probably lead to a melt down that could land her in the “mama i don’t like her” category.  I would usually just ask for mercy for my oldest and youngest because, just like their mother, they sometimes talk too much.  I would end the email by welcoming each teacher to my son’s learning team and wish each a happy school year.

That contact usually set the tone for the year.  I let teachers know that my children had at home support and I was reachable and that we were all in this together!

My advice… make contact with the teachers, be a visible presence when ever possible.

#BeAwesome #Be Involved

Homework, projects and Dinner…oh my!

Home work time at my house only added to the frustration of an already strained family life.  After many trial and error episodes we finally discovered a homework routine that worked for us as a family.

In the beginning, I would come home, already a lot bit tired and cranky, to find my boys laid out in the playroom watching tv.  I’d asked the horrid question, “did you finish your homework?” only to get bombarded by a plethora of whinny “i didn’t understand it” phrases;  most nights we would all end up crying of frustration and finally  giving up. This  went on until 2007, when finally enough was enough.  Something had to change.

I sat down with my sons, 7th grade, 3rd grade and kinder at the time, and made a schedule.

The GOAL was to finish homework, with no tears, me more than them, and before 9pm.  The PLAN: my boys got home at 4pm, instead of starting homework they ate a snack, and relaxed.  I got home at 4:45, that’s when the boys would go to their own individual space and read.  Not homework but just for fun, whatever topic.  While they read I went to my room and shut the door, which is a rarity.  I would undress and unwind, for 30 whole minuets. This allowed me to switch gears and get into mama mode.  At 5;15, we would gather at the kitchen table and start homework together. The ACTION: My boys would work on their home work solo skipping any question or problem they felt they couldn’t tackle alone. (This is when I’d stick dinner in the oven). When they were done, each child would read aloud the troubled question and we would then ‘gang up’ on it.  Sometimes, simply hearing the issue read aloud by someone else made it clearer, sometimes it took all of us to work on it but in the end there was no frustration, no tears and we were not doing homework at 9 at night. And sometimes hearing my kindergartner’s take on an algebra problem was so funny it opened my 7th graders eyes very quickly.

This is what worked for me and my family.  But my advice is to beware of frustration.  Once my kids got upset they gave up.  Give kids a break time maybe switch subjects if something is too tough. What ever it takes to keep the child learning.

#BE AWESOME!!

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