Weekday afternoons in our house are spent around the kitchen table, getting homework done. I have found that if the kids are in my eyesight doing homework, the homework seems to get done in a more timely manner. If the kids are in their rooms, there is the lure of the TV ("Mom, the TV helps me concentrate"), the lure of the toys (Mom, I just needed to get this castle built!") and the lure of the text message ("Mom, Becki is just so depressed that John didn't talk to her today, I need to reassure her")
If everyone is in the kitchen, I can control the environment (no TVs, blocks or cell phones, or anything else), I am available to help if a problem arises, and I also know exactly what each one of them is doing in school. Although my kids will disagree, I think this current strategy is a good one.
Abby is with us every afternoon, and until last week, being in kindergarten, never had homework. I never make her sit at the kitchen table with everyone else, but she isn't allowed to watch TV or be on the computer, because it would distract everyone else. While this sounds harsh, I wanted to have the afternoon environment in our house conducive to homework, and I knew that Abby would eventually have homework too.
But, Abby, always the good sport, joins everyone else at the table and keeps herself occupied. She colors, looks at books, and lately, has been writing. She has discovered the joy of creating words. It is always so cool to see when a child figures out that all those letters, when put together just right, can create words, and those words create stories. She and Grace have been making books for the last couple of weeks. They will take several sheets of paper, staple them together, draw pictures on each page, and then come up with words to match the illustrations. It is really awesome to see.
One day last week, Rhys and Abby were sitting at the kitchen table, he was doing his homework, she was working on a book. (Kellan was at volleyball practice and Sawyer wasn't home from school yet). Abby is plugging away, pausing every now and again to ask Rhys how to spell a word. Then she asked him how to spell his name. To which he replied...
"Well, my name is kind of different. Have you heard of the Silent E?"
Abby: "Of course, the Silent E makes vowels say their names"
Rhys: "My name has a Silent Q. It is similar to the Silent E because you don't say it, but it is still there. You spell my name Q-R-H-Y-S"
Abby: Dutifully writes down each letter as he says it.
Rhys: "Now, it looks like my name is pronounced "kwareese", but it is just Rhys, you don't say the Q"
Abby goes on to finsh her book about Rhys, with everytime his name is mentioned, and it was several times, it was spelled "Qrhys".
Me: "Why did you tell her your name had a Silent Q?"
Rhys: "I don't know, I will tell her the real spelling in a few days."
Yesterday, we had a similar scenario. The two of them were sitting at the table, he was doing his homework, and she hers - she now has homework. Suddenly he looks up and says..
"Abby, my name doesn't really have a Silent Q."
Abby: "I know, because everywhere your name is spelled in this house, there is no Q, I figured you were joking with me."
Rhys: "I was, sorry. But I do need to tell you that you have been spelling Sawyer wrong. Her name has a Silent L. You spell it L-S-A-W-Y-E-R."
I am sure Abby will figure that one out, too.