Homework has been a struggle for our family since early in Grade One. Jonas gets frustrated very quickly, and very often ends up in tears. Somewhere along the line he lost faith in himself. He's had a good couple of weeks since he started his ADHD medication, and we thought (hoped?) that we were over that hump. He's been confident and upbeat at homework time, and he's been doing a great job. Unfortunately, the ugly beast reared it's head again on the weekend.
Working with his pediatrician and teacher, we've capped homework time to thirty minutes a day, not including reading. Thankfully, reading seems to becoming a healthy addicition for him. Yesterday he choose to read another story instead of watching a movie. Hooray! More often than not though, his non-reading time is a half hour battle. I say battle because he fights it, and I struggle to figure out a way to get him in the right frame of mind. I do see the value in doing homework so I'm not going to throw up my arms in defeat. It's a fine line because while I don't want him to view homework as a punishment, he also has to learn that not doing it isn't an option. It's a skill he needs to master, not only to succeed in school but also in life.
Sometimes the frustration sets in when he doesn't get something right, and other times, like this weekend, just getting started brings on the waterworks. I don't know what it is that makes him so upset about homework time, but he does have a similar struggle navigating through the all challenges that crop up during his day. It's definitely something we need to help him work through. Although the steps we've taken so far have helped a lot, they haven't reduced the emotion of these "roadblocks". Sunday's plea was the very common "I just can't do it!"
It breaks my heart to see him so upset, especially over something that I believe he can master, so I stole a piece of awesome advice from a colleage at Toastmasters. (Thank you Stephen!) Instead of saying "I can't do it!" we're trying to get him to think and say "I can't do it - yet!" What a powerful little word! Nobody masters anything their first time out. Beginner's luck aside, most things take time to be able to do well. Whether it's playing chess with his sister, soccer with kids at school, or practicing his handwriting, he needs to learn that it's the effort that counts, not whether he gets it exactly right the first time, or even every time for that matter. All he really needs to do is try his best every time. The more he practices something, the better he'll get at it. We're trying to get him to understand that when he doesn't get the result he wants, it's not the end of the world. He just hasn't gotten it - yet!