Parenting: Kids’ Classwork Strategies

Monday, April 23rd 2018


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My Unicorn


I, the Mom, not only drink the Montessori cool-aid, I am a full on purveyor.  That being said, the years are going by and I’m perennially dumbfounded by my kids’ ability to take the “free choice” latitude to its fullest extent… by NOT doing their classwork.

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BOY:  For the Boy, classwork is simply not as compelling as his profound READING addiction, to which he has almost always deferred given the slightest chance; like every day.  A most wonderful problem!  “The best problem a parent could ask for,” I always say.  But a problem nonetheless.  Especially when he is about ONE year away from middle school, and I am slowly becoming terrified for him.

GIRL:  For Her it’s a bit more complicated because I seem nearly incapable of grappling with the fact that my daughter might be anything less than the indomitable, fearless, larger-than-life unicorn that I perceive.  Truth is she has a well-worn switch to Shrinking Violet Mode.  It grinds academic engagement -hell, any engagement- to a SCREECHING halt.  I try not to put too much pressure on her, but anyone who knows me can attest to the fact I’m not exactly laid back and neither is my parenting style.  I’ve no idea whether or how deeply my sometimes exacting standards have intimidated this gorgeous delicate creature into submission.  In any case we are -as ever- pulling in any and all resources we can to support her.

In the meantime I wanted to document today’s tiny triumph.

TO HER CREDIT, ClaraJane had me help write a letter to her 1st Grade Teacher Ms. Z, requesting a Daily Smiley Chart like her brother’s:


Screenshot 2018-04-23 10.04.19

ClaraJane’s Letter to Her Teachers



To Boy’s credit he was willing to share the one generously created by his 4th Grade Teacher Ms. Stefanie:

2018-04-23 Gavin's Classwork Chart.jpg

Gavin’s Daily Work Contract


ClaraJane even came up with her own goals (left column):

2018-04-23 CJ Classwork Chart

ClaraJane’s Classwork Chart


So we write the letter, include a copy of brother’s chart, draft the master of hers, make copies for the teacher, and THEN…  I print a copy of the goals on card stock and laminate it into a necklace she can wear to school and in class!  Here it is again:

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[Side note:  $20 laminator worth every penny!  Small too so it fits in a drawer.]

Speaking of which I ALSO put a laminated a copy of her goals rubber banded to Daddy Chef’s school coffee mug so he would have a copy in the kitchen with which to ASK her specific questions about how her day is going… since he’s like, right there in school with them all day every day.  [Note to self:  Make one to help him ask Boy too.]

So we had a great first morning back to school.  Both kids are rested from break and eager to go back.  Gavin got dressed and ready early and cheerfully.  In a new spirit of cooperation ClaraJane even let me brush her hair.  She was excited to try to this new motivational tool she orchestrated.  They were both in great spirits at the bus stop, and she even waved to me from the bus this time (1st time in a while).

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That’s the best I can do for now.  And what a testament to a restful, restorative Staycation Break.

All I need now is some 2nd grade asshole to tease my daughter for wearing  a card around her neck on a string.  F*ck me, miright?

Hopefully not.

fingers crossed

Now to email every member of their support team in and around school.

Too much?

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About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
This entry was posted in activism, childhood, domestic life, education, evidence they get along, faith, family, fight, forgiveness, learning, love, mental health, parenthood, patience, school, siblings, work, work-life balance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Parenting: Kids’ Classwork Strategies

  1. MIMI BREED says:

    Good on all of you. Listen, everybody has a hidden shrinking violet side that can shockingly appear without warning. Even you. (If you want chapter and verse, ask me later.)

    What a great utilization of spring vacation. Staycations can be the best. I will try to remember and tactfully inquire about the kids’ classroom goals. But I plan to see the O kids Thursday this week, not Tuesday, per Paul’s request. Please let me know it’s okay to NOT meet Green Frog tomorrow. I plan to meet GF on Thursday.


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