The Homework Struggle


April 28 will mark one year since Cydney started preschool.  My first post on this blog was titled “I Wasn’t Ready,” in which I lamented about my then eighteen month old daughter starting daycare that ended with me saying “That first day is going to be a bitch.” (Looking back at that first post made me cringe. We all have to start somewhere so thanks to those who have been reading since day one).

Cyd is an exceptionally functioning four year old and preschool has played a major role in this.  She comes home, tells me about her day, what little fights she got into with the other little girls, and then it’s time to do homework.  I hate homework time.

One would think something as simple as tracing letters and coloring something in would be simple.  Hell no.  Theoretically, it should take no more than five minutes; but on average it might be about twenty and even a half hour some days.  Why?  Because it’s Cydney.  She wants to do her own thing.  Her teacher says that she listens very well but sometimes gets into her moods and can be difficult.  Cydney is extra difficult with me just because I’m daddy.

We sit down, we pull out the pencil, Cydney will trace one or two letters, then she blows a spit bubble, she’s a lefty and starts writing with her right hand saying “I’m both handed!”–which actually is something I encourage, jumps around, makes noises, and then gets started on the next letter.  The whole time I am saying “Cydney!” in a soft tone that crescendos to the point where sometimes I am yelling.  She jumps, gets back to it, and then repeats the cycle I mentioned at the top of this paragraph.  I feel like I need a drink and go to bed but it will be 5:30 pm.

As Cydney evolves, so do I.  If I see something isn’t working, I must be proactive in changing how things are done in a manner to get the results I am looking for.  Cydney is practically scared of the number five.  This is because whenever she is behaving in a manner I don’t deem suitable I begin to count down from five.  If I make it to “one,” she knows I just might pop her or something is getting taken away.  As soon as I say “five” slowly and in a calming voice she jumps as if I just came out of a bush and scared her.

The five count has been my solution to homework time.  For each letter she traces she gets five seconds.  I’m not going to do anything to her; but I think the timer helps push her.  I count from one to five and once I get to six I begin to count louder.  Some letters take a little longer than five seconds, so in those cases I take it easy.  It has worked.  Most of the time, homework is completed within five minutes.

Well, that is about to change.  Cydney is an incredibly bright child and gets bored in class.  In an effort to push her, Cydney’s teacher has been giving Cydney less letters to trace and she has to write the letters on her own.  It takes a little longer and Cydney feels the urge to celebrate every time she finishes a letter and it looks good on her own.  I’m okay with this kind of distraction because she is encouraged to keep trying.  Eventually I will have to figure something out when this is no longer new to her.

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