At Conner's school, all of the first graders have an "agenda" that they have to bring home everyday. It's the way for teachers and parents to communicate, where homework assignments and important papers are kept, etc. I think something along those lines is probably pretty standard.
Well Conner forgot to bring his home yesterday. I didn't know what kind of penalty there would be if he didn't have my signature in the right spot on his agenda, but I didn't figure it would be too bad during the first week of school. What I was concerned about what that this is the first week of school. There's no way there weren't papers that needed to come home. And I had no idea what to expect on homework yet - except that there would probably be some at some point.
So today when he came walking out of the school building with not even his backpack, we had a talk. I couldn't put fresh cold water in his water bottle if he didn't bring it home in his backpack. I couldn't clean out his lunchbox if he didn't bring home in his backpack, and it would get nasty. He was gonna get in trouble with his teacher if he kept forgetting his agenda. I walked him back in to get it - but with the understanding that we were not going to do this everyday. This is something that he's really got to remember on his own.
Of course there were papers for me to fill out and sign. And a tshirt order form that was due in a couple of days. And homework. Due tomorrow. That he really should have started yesterday. Uggh.
It was only spelling homework. But it wasn't the kind of spelling homework that I remember having. This was a tic-tac-toe grid, with a different spelling activity in each box. On a normal week, he would bring home the list of spelling words on Monday, complete one box Monday, Tuesday, and Wedneday to make a tic-tac-toe, take a practice spelling test on Thursday, and turn it all in on Friday. But this was a short week, made even shorter since the homework wasn't assigned until Wednesday. And even shorter since the homework wasn't brought home until Thursday. Oh, and if they do extra work and complete all nine activities, they get a little surprise. So guess how many Conner of course wanted to do?
I think he picked the hardest, most time-consuming set of activities possible. The first one was to write his spelling words with yarn and glue it to a paper. There were only 8 words, and they were all only three letters or less, but gosh it took a long time!About 30 minutes into it, and only two words to go (while I was trying to fish out some of the 2 or 3 weeks worth of food that Joey had given Phineas Fish earlier in the day), apparently his hand got into some of the glue and it smeared the yarn everywhere. He got frustrated and crumpled the paper up and threw it away.
Normally I would have had him dig it out of the trashcan. But with the wet glue and yarn pieces, it would have taken just as long to repair as it would have to start over. Luckily, his eight words were on two pieces of paper, so he still had four of them done. Fifteen minutes later (making this assignment worth 45 minutes so far), he still had two words to go. But he obviously needed a break and I needed to get dinner started.
A little while later, I realized that I hadn't heard from Joey in awhile. This is never a good sign. And sure enough - I found him at Conner's homework table. Extra glue was dribbled all over the paper, and he was cutting a piece of yarn into shreds over it. While I was impressed at how well he had been paying attention to what Conner was doing and able to duplicate it, I was near panic. Conner was not going to take this well. But luckily, his work had been untouched, and I was able to pretty much wipe all of Joey's off.(Yes, he's naked. That just adds to the drama, doesn't it?!)
Joey and I had some serious words, I shut the door to the bedroom, and we ate dinner. Then it was time for Conner to hit the books again. I told him that I was pretty sure that there was no way that we were going to get all nine activities done at this point. And I made sure to point out that if he had remembered to bring home his agenda yesterday, it might have been a different story. He was a little bummed about not getting a prize, but was already tired enough of it that he was just ready to finish the three activities that he had to. (Hopefully this will work out so that he will remember his stuff better next week!)
I mostly sat with him - I'm sure in a few weeks he'll be an old pro, but today anyway, he was really needing some supervision. And soon I realized that Joey wasn't watching Backyardigans like I had thought. You guessed it - he was at the fish tank, but not feeding it this time. No, I had put the fish food away...this time he had the net and was trying to catch poor Phineas Fish. Good grief. Poor Conner.
I lost track of how long it took us to finish all three assignments. But the total work time was probably an hour and a half or longer - not what I had expected for a first homework assignment!
I knew that homework was coming this year. And I had made preparations - Conner has his own little homework table in my bedroom where he can be away from his brothers (he shares a bedroom with Micah) and the TV. And I knew that reigning in Joey while I was helping Conner was going to be an issue. But I somehow hadn't figured on the first night of it going quite like this! Hopefully he'll do well on his spelling test tomorrow, and we'll see what next week brings...