As you know, the Stinker Relly has been in kindergarten for two weeks now. He’s a bit “off-the-charts” smarty patarty and we are very blessed to have a self-contained accelerated learning program in our county and at our local elementary school. (Literally, when he was tested, the first words out the psychologist’s mouth were, “If you’ve been wondering why God has you here… this is why.” To which I thankfully sobbed. I’m so stinkin amazed by this kid. Every day. Anyway…) That means he’s in a classroom filled only with a bunch of super smart weirdos just like him and the teacher is specially trained to teach such little learners.
This week was the first week of actual homework. She’s still in the findings stages, so she sent a note with the homework explaining that it would likely be too easy, but she wants to come in to her instruction of each student on the low end of their abilities. I definitely appreciate that.
So here’s our new structure:
We live very close to the school so we’re walking home a lot. While we walk, he and I talk about what’s going to happen when he gets home. He doesn’t like it, but homework comes absolutely first. He likes to feel in control and has specific ideas about what sort of rewards he should get. I don’t mind reasoning with him about that. Some days, he’s wanted to ride his back after homework. Other days, he’s wanted to play the Wii or watch a show on TV. That’s fine with me.
Now here’s what I’ve found works best for him:
On our way home, I remind him of the routine to set his expectations. He makes a suggestion for a “completed homework reward”; which is either time on his bike or 30 minutes on the Wii. In reality, these are normal things he’d do on any given day, but I’m using them as something for him to look toward during “homework torture”.
We get home and he gets right to it on his bed. I keep Stinker Bell out so he stays focused. This has cut his homework time by hours!
I check on him periodically. I’ve found that, while he’s super advanced in most basic academics, he lacks some things that can only really be taught to you. For instance, he brought home 2 1st grade readers. They were actually too easy for him and he breezed through them and knew the answers directly. However, his teacher instructed him to answer the questions in the form of complete sentences and he had no idea how to do that. I had to sit down and talk a little bit about sentence structure. Which is fine. But it illuminated, in my mind, that I cannot allow his superior abilities to overshadow the crevices in that little brain that need building out.
Another issue I’ve discovered is his lack of patience for stupid assignments. For instance, he had to complete this math worksheet. Each problem had two lines with the first filled with a number of aliens. The instructions were for him to draw all the aliens plus one more on the second line. Now, my own personal issue with this assignment was a pretty common issue I have with all of these “simple” worksheets: the instructions are “simplified” to the point of not really making logical sense. But that’s my issue. The boy’s issue was that he would have much rather have just written the math equation (2+1=3) instead of drawing aliens. He was paralyzed because the aliens he was instructed to draw were too detailed and he couldn’t replicate them well. He literally sat staring at that page for 3 hours. It was ludicrous!
So here’s what I’m realizing is my newest parenting challenge
I am seeing that, in order to maneuver in this life, Stinker Relly needs to observe the rules and follow them, no matter how his brain ticks and no matter how ridiculous his logic may render those rules to be; there are just some things none of us can get around.
Simultaneously, I refuse to create a mindless rule-follower! This son of mine thinks differently than other people for a reason. God gave him a purpose. He was born with the potential to innovate; but he’ll only go there if that innovative spirit is cultivated. So, on the one hand, follow the rules because it’s the right thing to do and sometimes necessary. On the other hand, break the rules and create new rules!
And on a third side, I see the potential for him to feel the need to prove himself to the world with a rebellious heart. I don’t want him to feel he needs to prove himself to anyone. It took me 29 years to figure that out in myself. There will be times he’ll need to fight. Yes. But I want him to fight out of a heart filled with love and righteousness and not rebellion and anger.
So this is the beginning of truly seeing how this kid fits into the world.
I am mesmerized by his insight and his love and the person I see unfolding before me. I am praying I get it right; not so I can feel good about what I did, but so I can sufficiently set him up live his best life.
Maybe you have a peculiar little person and you have some tips and tricks that work for you.
Please share! Let’s all learn from each other. 🙂