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Homework. Yay. Woo.

What does it look like at your house? At my house, it's when the most impressive stalling and negotiation techniques are practiced. If you're one of the lucky ones with a kid who tackles their homework independently, well, I'm jealous.

It isn't like my kid doesn't love to learn. In fact, he considers solving math problems and reading fun most of the time.

Once he starts.

He doesn't like to start.

He dreads starting.

I get it. I feel the same way about exercising.

Here is what I imagine happening in his mind:

Homework? But I'm finally home. I want to do all the things. I want to play with this random toy I haven't noticed in months. I want to play with my sister. I want to teach the dog a trick. I want to ride my bike. I want to do ANYTHING but homework. Why? Not sure.

Maybe because I am not choosing it, and all day long people have told me what to do and when to do it, and here we go again!

Cue whining. Didn't work. Let's try leaving the vicinity. Didn't work. Pretend I'm sleeping! Bluff called. Oh no, now Mom's getting that tone in her voice. I don't like that tone. Maybe it's time to kick in my stellar negotiation tactics. "So Mommy..." Psychologists- there's got to be a name for these stages. And yes, we do have a routine. Yes, we do prepare him. Yes, he does get a break before launching into it. Trust me, I am all ears when it comes to other ideas! I wonder, what benefit could come from spending that time talking about his day instead of walking him through his "stages." How might we grow closer, and grow healthier? Less time at the homework table means more time outside. Less time fussing about what to do and when to do it means more time to navigate the challenges of life. Together. Sign me up.

Literally. I'm signed up. We created Homework Help because there is no way I'm alone in this. How do I know for sure? Because of the countless parent-teacher conferences I've had in the role of teacher where parents have described an almost identical scenario to me. So many parents have told me about how tears are regularly spilled, voices are raised, and conflicts are common. All over homework.

Oh, and don't get me started on the reading log. Too late. I've started. Here's my dilemma. As a Reading Specialist, I know just how important it is to read regularly to become a better reader. There is no question about it. I also know that if a kid is not drawn to reading (yet), if they don't find pleasure in reading (yet), or if they aren't in the right environment to focus on reading (yet), it can be another cause for the homework hangup (I'm workshopping phrases here). By the way, home might not be the best environment for every kid. Home can be wonderfully (or not so wonderfully) distracting with family members, favorite toys, yummy snacks, pets, etc. That's the best-case scenario.

I also know that parents regularly face the ethical dilemma of one or many of the following scenarios:

  • Do I sign it anyway if my kid didn't actually read?

  • What message does that send to my child about honesty?

  • Do I send it in blank?

  • Will my kid get in trouble because I didn't make them complete it?

  • What will the teacher think of me if the log isn't filled out each night?

  • Where the heck is that log?

  • What is a reading log?

  • How many different colors of ink can I use to make it look like it took all month to fill this thing out? Let me crumple the edges a bit to really sell it...

  • Did you fill out your reading log?

Here's the deal. Reading is important. Parenting is hard. Being a kid is hard.

Try this:

  • Figure out what works and what doesn't for your family. Make a plan together that might include setting up the just right spot in the house and determining the just right after-school plan that you can all stick to as much as possible.

  • Get your kid to read with someone else. We'll even sign the log for them! Seasonal and session package plans are available but space is limited.

  • Ask the teacher if you can use a different type of log focusing on progress, not perfection.

  • Have an evening "reading party" where you all, yes all, grab your own books, snuggle up together and read. What a great opportunity for you to get some me(ish) time, bond with your kids, and model reading habits. Read a magazine, a book, a blog (wink wink), it doesn't matter as long it's got sentences.

  • Let them spend a week growing their vocabulary comprehension by listening to an audiobook. Alternate this with reading aloud- either you to them or them to you.

  • Make sure they know how to pick out books appropriate to their level. Would you want to read an advanced chemistry textbook if you didn't understand it? I probably wouldn't make it to the second paragraph before conveniently finding something to conveniently distract me. Would you enjoy reading a kindergarten phonics book on your own? Boring!

Parents, it's not easy. Let's hack this parenting thing.

Comment with tips and tricks that work for your family.

Imperfect in Arboro,


What does the *+ mean on these services? It means they are included as part of both the Circuit and the Bolt Membership Plans!

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