Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Homework? Tigger Mom Wins

My eleven-year-old daughter has just left the kitchen table where she had confidently finished a decimal to percent conversion worksheet. She had been successful and something has changed in this house.

In the past, she'd fight me to the bitter end and I'd duck erasers and accusations of torture. A ten minute exercise would easily stretch into an hour-long staring contest.
I'm hopeful that my trial of starting the summer with Pajama Week had forestalled any feelings of pleasure denial from my children. I'm thinking that she has matured enough to understand, well, we're going to do it anyway... I planned on only twenty relatively easy problems as a review, so as not to overwhelm her with work.

But I think the biggest positive move I made was I changed myself. I called upon Tigger Mom, and put Tiger Mom away.

It was important for me to let her work at her own pace and correct her own worksheet, with an answer sheet. When she had found a mistake, she asked me a question, and I struggled (but I succeeded) against "over-explaining", something I do which annoys her. I only wondered aloud what the right answer could be. "Oh," she said after a moment. "I get it." She then fixed her mistake and checked the rest of her work. We barely exchanged words. Tiger Mom wanted her to copy over her corrected mistakes, ten times each. Instead, I looked over her worksheet when she was done. After fixing her two errors, she had proudly scrawled "100%" across the bottom. I'll give her that; she is 100% in my book.

Even better? I reminded her to read more of her book today, to ensure she finished her first summer reading book soon. She barely blinked. "Of course, Mom", she said, as I am stupid. I'm stupid-happy. Let's hope this continues for the next two months. I think it can as long as I keep the Tiger mom at bay.
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