Mario has been hearing us get on Maria about having to do her homework for the last eight months. He usually sits in the other room playing his Ben Ten game or watching a show or jumping off the couch onto the chair and vice versa. I have tried on numerous occasions to try to get him to read a book or draw while Maria is working on her homework. He has always had no desire.
He sees Maria get frustrated at times. She is now at the stage of reading chapter books. Some of the books are so incredibly boring that she brings home that I can totally understand why she detests having to read them. Mix that with the fact that they have harder words in them so she can’t just fly through them like she used to do, and it is even more frustrating. The other night I was making dinner and she was reading one of the chapter books. She had to read eight pages and she had cried about that fact for an entire ten minutes before she finally plunged into it. She wanted to read to herself so I let her. Within a minute, I looked behind her and saw that she had flipped through to the sixth page already. Each page was filled with words. There was no way she had read all of them in a minute. I looked at her. She looked at me. I crinkled my face at her. She crinkled hers back at me. I asked her if she read all six pages. She said yes. I asked her if she read every word in those six pages. She said yes but a little softer this time. She glanced up at me after saying “yes” and then said “Ok, I didn’t read them all.” At least she told the truth. Mario watched the entire exchange, and threw in his comments at the end.
“Maria, you have to do all of your homework.”
Maria rightfully flicked his arm.
I think Mario used to enjoy watching Maria get flustered and enjoy the fact that he did not have to engage in this nightly exercise of homework. But last night, he embraced the idea of homework. Maria was taking a shower and something hit me to tell him that his school sent homework home for him to do just like Maria’s school does for her. He totally bought into it. I brought over one of Maria’s old kindergarten workbooks. We started with an area that he is really good at – sequencing. He looked at three pictures of a boy and he had to determine which action went first, second and third. He got them all right. I gave him a high-five and wrote “A+” on the top of the page. From there, it was all over. His head was the size of Jupiter. I flipped over another page and had him work on the next exercise. He got it right. He wrote his own “A+” on the top of the page. When he got to a page where you had to circle the objects that had a certain vowel in them (e.g., find the “a” words in ball, cow, and ape), he had no clue. But when I tried to explain it to him, and point him in the right direction, he got so angry.
“I know how to do it, Mom!”
When he circled all of them, I let it go and moved onto the next page. However, Maria was not so generous. She had to take the opportunity to point out to Mario that he did not get the answers right.
“Mario, you circled them all and that is not right. You have to try again.”
Mario’s response: flick her in the ear.
He ended up finishing the entire workbook because he refused to stop until all of the pages were completed – right or wrong. Maria left the room after the flicking, and cuddled with her dad on the couch. I remained at the table with Mario watching him proudly circle the answers he believed correct and then watching him mark an “A+” a top every page of the book. He certainly does not lack confidence.