Even if you have an emotionally and mentally healthy child who feels safe, secure and loved; a child who receives enough attention and support both at home and in school – even they struggle with doing homework at times. Let alone doing school work during the summer holidays! How unfair – they shout and refuse to do it… Now imagine a child, who doesn’t have these advantages, who feels ‘nothing is going for me’ and who doesn’t believe they will come back to the same school in September, why should they bother with homework during the summer?
Speaking to many adopters and being part of lots of Facebook groups, Twitter groups for adoptive, fostering and therapeutic parents, when it comes to homework, there seems to be a strong consensus: Looked After Children (LAC) don’t do homework! Many support groups even go further and say ‘looked after children should not have to worry about doing homework when they have so many gaps in their development that needs patching up first; doing homework isn’t a priority’ or ‘it’s not worth the fight, when you have already so many battles you need to fight each day, you pick the important ones’.
Doing Homework – is it worth the fight?
For my husband and I homework happens to be one of the important battles that we feel it’s worth fighting for! We both come from different backgrounds; I loved learning and I genuinely enjoyed doing homework. Hubby hated it, but he had no choice because his parents thought it was a priority. So from day one we told the boys that doing homework is and always will be a priority that has to come before movie night, before play time, before any treats. I am not saying we didn’t have to battle with them from time to time. Occasionally I had to miss the movie as well, because I had to sit at the table with 8 who simply refused to do it and the poor lad navigated himself into meltdown mode. It would have been much easier for me to drop the homework issue and just focus on helping my son with his meltdown and to bring him back to ‘my calm mode’ (as he calls it). But I think the real issue here isn’t homework itself, rather the importance of consistency and clear boundaries, so I stuck to my guns. No homework still means lots of cuddles, but it also means no movie.
I have spoken to both teachers before school finished and we discussed the matter. Naturally the teachers were coming from the angle of ‘homework is necessary for their continuous development’, while I was coming from the angle of ‘my boys need as much structure as we can get for the next 6 weeks so any input is welcome’. We compromised on some targeted tasks for both boys. 7 got some fancy sheets to practice his handwriting from school and I created some extra sheets for him about his favourite things to practice his spelling. 8 got some complex science problems to solve, which keeps him busy occasionally for hours. We try to work together for a few days each week, mostly for the sake of consistency to kill time, but it also doubles as getting some improvements in their education and most importantly to spend special time together!
Summer reading challenge 2017
This is actually a brilliant idea, but I only found out about it by accident. If you want to read more, here is the link to Summer Reading Challenge page. Apparently 8 knew about it as he was supposed to sign up with his entire class, but he was ‘naughty’ so the teacher excluded him from the class’ last library trip. We went to the library last weekend, because 8 needed a toilet break from playing in the park. Once business done we walked over to the counter and the librarian asked if we were there for the challenge. She quickly explained the details and before I could blink my sweet little 8 year old picked up 6 books to sign out!
I thought we are sorted for the summer. Granted, the books weren’t too long, but 8 finished them in 3 days! After each book I asked him to tell me all about it so I could check if he really read it properly. This also gave us some special time together when I focused all my attention on him and he loved it so much that his story descriptions covered even the tiniest of details. 🙂 I think Quality time must be his Love Language (I wrote more about the 5 Love Languages here). We both discovered a new way to spend quality time together so when he finished his 6 books, we went back to get some more.
Last week he finished 5 Roald Dahl books!
He asked for Horrid Henry books but after having a quick survey among my ever helpful Twitter friends we agreed his emotional age is not ready yet to read those books without any negative repercussions. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid – series will also have to wait a few more years.
So, anybody has any reading challenges for my challenging son? His reading age is 10+, his biological age is 8, his emotional age is 5. Any book suggestions for the rest of the holidays?