I’m baaaaackkkk!! Oh man I’ve missed you all–like seriously!! We’ll talk about the whole blogging hiatus thing soon, because you know there’s some rambling I want to do about that, but for now, lets just jump right back into the fun stuff, shall we? My daughter started Kindergarten this year, and holy hell was that a transition for all of us! I don’t know about you, but I sort of thought this whole Kindergarten thing was going to be like a blissful three hour break in my day, and maybe a little prep to gently ease into the “real” school thing next year when she starts first grade. Well, for a child who is accustomed to being at home by herself all day, and doing pretty much what she wants, when she wants, let’s just say that it’s been quite the adjustment for all of us. Especially when it comes to the whole homework thing.
You know what I’ve learned so far this year in Kindergarten? When the teacher says that homework should take 15 minutes a night, you can just tack on another 30 minutes of crying/frustration/bitching to that equation and round it out to 45 minutes to an hour of homework (and my teachers thought I was bad at math ;)). For the record, I’m painfully aware that this is just the beginning, and I’ve spent a lot of time looking back over the last few weeks to that look I remember in my mom’s eyes during Jr. High Algebra, I can now recognize as the look of a mother who is on the verge of strangling her child and losing her sanity. I also had to pat myself on the back the other day when I gave her a fabulous speech about how learning is like hiking, it’s hard along the way, but awesome when you get there…she totally bought into it. I had to call my dad to tell him that I had officially entered the world of annoying parent lectures Last night I gave her my same brilliant analogy to which she replied “cut it out with the hiking thing already.” I’m sure my mom is somewhere in Heaven having a really great laugh at me soooooo reaping what I sewed.
Anyway, I sound like a big whiner, but in reality, she’s excited to finally be going to school and it’s been so fun to watch her learn new things. It’s like that new baby stage all over again where they’re constantly learning and, in my parent eyes, everything she does is TOTALLY amazing! Every day we’re making progress and getting into the groove of this school thing. I’m a pretty go-with-the-flow type of person, schedules aren’t really my jam, but I knew that we needed to get ourselves into a good homework routine right off the bat (teach ‘em young), so the first week of school, I set up a little homework station by her small little desk space (seriously one of the most useful projects I’ve ever done around here) and let her pick out some supplies that were all her own. Obviously this little corner gets a lot of use and needed some serious help anyway, so back to school was the perfect catalyst.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in my six years of parenting, it’s that the more options my child has, the less she actually plays, and the bigger the mess she makes. So I bought a rolling cart at IKEA (they’ve lowered the price to 30 bucks—whaaaattt?!!!) to round up some of the creative clutter. I only kept out the stuff that she uses on a daily basis (or almost daily) and then put away a bunch of the other stuff in a closet where we can get it out occasionally. Coloring books and work books are in one of the trays, along with a basket for all of her stickers.
And on top, my favorite tool for office supply storage: a utensil basket that stores pencils, colored pencils and paints, and a few extra jars for markers and scissors. Then a mail sorter holds her notebooks, dry erase board, and her homework folder that we work from each week. When it’s time to do homework, it’s all right there, ready to go, so at least that battle is already won–score one for mom!
In all honesty, she uses the little desk more for her own creative endeavors, and we mostly use the kitchen table for homework, but that’s really what makes the cart an awesome option if you’re like us and don’t have a whole lot of space to dedicate to a permanent work space for the kids. It gives the kids their own little spot and their own stuff, but can be rolled away in a closet when you’re done!