Monday, January 26, 2015


In sixth grade, Alyssa has homework almost every night. This is to be expected. She’s good about doing it right when she gets home just so it’s done. Some evenings she’ll wait until I get home so I can walk her through any math problems she might have; which I find amusing because math is not my strong suit. But we persevere and it gets done.

Last year in kindergarten, Olivia had homework on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

This year…she has no homework…ever.

Weird, right?

Yes, we read each night and we try to remember to review math facts (“But math is so boooooring,” she whines.) but regular, sit down and do it homework? Not so much.

We got the girls’ grade cards last week. Alyssa is a smart cookie and got all 5s and 4s. Her school doesn’t do the letter grading system. Nope, they give 1 – 5 ratings, with 5 being performing way beyond grade level expectations. 4 is given when the student is above grade level expectations. 3 means they student is performing at grade level expectations and two is below. 1 is way below grade level expectations.

Along with her grade card, Olivia also brought home her IEP report. According to her grade card, Olivia is performing mostly at grade level, with a few above and a few below. We’re pretty happy with that.

Her IEP report was good too, for the most part. She’s doing well with cutting and in reading. We need to work in math (again with the boring, perhaps I need to get over that or hand it over to Tom for practice since I’m obviously not helping my child at all in this area.)

One area that needs work, though? Coloring.

Yes, it was suggested in O’s IEP report that we work on coloring at home. Now that’s my kind of homework.

Yesterday after lunch, I went up and found several coloring books, a tub of crayons and markers and put them on the kitchen table. While I made a raspberry pie, the girls wen to town on a Frozen coloring book.

At one point, Olivia declared, “I’m really bad at this.”

I went over to where she was working. I sat down next to her and look at her work.

Yes, there was a lot of coloring outside the lines, a lot of what seemed like random scribbles on the page.

But as she and I examined her coloring page, I pointed out how well she’d done on Elsa’s lips and Anna’s hair. I told her I really liked the awesome colors she’d chosen for the sisters’ shoes and that the lipstick she'd put on them was beautiful. She beamed. She may not have colored those shoes or those lips inside the lines but she'd tried and she was happy to see that I understood what mattered most to her.

See, Olivia has her priorities. Lips and shoes are kind of it. She doesn’t want to color a chicken or a dog. She doesn’t want to draw a cat or a stupid triangle. But she does want to color a pretty girl’s lips pink or red. She wants to make her shoes colorful and sparkly if possible.

We’re going to continue to work with that. I figure if I give her pages to color that she finds interesting, it will give her the practice she needs to color the ones at school that aren’t that interesting.

It’s all about motivation.

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