Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homework - A Survival Story

This year, the most challenging thing Ross faces is his homework. It's not that the assignments are tough - it's that he forgets to bring the papers home or, when he does bring them home, he forgets to put the completed work in his knapsack to bring back to school. Ross sees how absolutely senseless it is to DO the homework and still take a zero because he left it at home but it doesn't seem to inspire in him a need to put the assignments right into his backpack when he's finished them.

To encourage Ross to remember all aspects of his homework, we've derived an incentive program - if he does his homework, he can play video games. If he fails to do or turn in his homework, he forfeits video games that week. Since he's recently taken to playing a game online with his friends, losing video games hits especially hard when he has to tell his friends on the phone that he will not be logging in that night.

On one such sorrowful evening, Ross hung up the phone and turned his woe into anger. "You know," he declared, "You are the ONLY mother who makes up rules like this! NONE of my friends have to do their homework before they play video games!"

"Oh, really?" I looked at him doubtfully.

"REALLY," he spat.

"I think you've got that wrong. I'm willing to bet that other mothers DO make their kids have homework done before they get to play games. Have you asked the other moms?" Ross paused, thinking of what to say next so I held out the phone. "Why don't you call and talk to someone else's mother about it?"

Ross glared at me, grabbed his jacket and stormed out shouting, "I'm going to live somewhere else! Where I don't have to do my homework!" I shut the door behind him, wondering if there was enough time before dinner for him to figure out there are no places like that.

Chris heard the stomping and the door and came in asking where Ross had gone. "To live with parents who won't make him do his homework before he plays World of Warcraft," I said.

"There are parents like that," Chris asked?

"Apparently there are," I said.

"You know it's raining?"

"Yep," I nodded, "He won't get far."

Sure enough, Ross appeared again about ten minutes later - a little soggy. "Can I still have dinner?"

"Of course you can! If your homework is done before we sit down. You have about ten minutes," I said and turned to do something that wouldn't let him see my face. He stomped a bit but got his papers and a pencil. "Couldn't find a better place to live?"

He shot me a look, "Nobody was home." Then he finished his homework and pointedly put it into his knapsack before we all sat down to dinner.

When we'd cleared the meal, I asked if Ross was going to see if the other family was home, so he could move. He rolled his eyes, "Mama! My homework is DONE now."

I sighed, "You know you still can't play Warcraft this week, right? You didn't do your homework when you were supposed to?"

He gave a frustrated grunt, "I KNOW."

I caught his eyes, "Want to do something together or would you rather storm upstairs and be alone?"

He grinned, "Can we play a game? I could run away tomorrow..."

"As long as your homework is done before you go."


Laurel Wreath said...

Love this!!! Tell him this Mom of three boys (14, 13, and 10) HAVE to do their homework before anything computer or electronic related.

Such mean Moms we are.

Sister K said...

awwww....that's great..brings back memories of "running away" around the block w/ girlscout cookies....tell him aunt kat would love for him to do homework so he doesn't get embarassed later in life that he's stupid :)

Keysgal@QuietWater said...

That doesn't sound like a "Worst" mama to me. Congratulations to you. If your kids have not told you at least once by the time they are 18 that they hate you then you are not doing a good job!! Pat
(Paige & Ashley's mama)

Epiphany Alone said...

There's definitely a point in holding out the phone and asking him to phone someone's mother...

Chaotic Joy said...

Awesome! Just awesome.

Spice Girl said...

K--am I living a parallel life? I'll just say "ditto" to this experience, because it was repeated almost verbatim at the gingerbread house yesterday.