September 17, 2007

Homework Hero

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"Whoop, whoop, whoop," my 6-year-old Trevor said, spinning his ruler atop his pencil. "Here comes the helicopter, coming in for a rescue."

"Save me! Save me!" he shouted, grabbing his green crayon to skip across his desk, pretending it was an "army man" running across a field. The crayon fell over and a chip flew off. "I'm hurt! Get me outta here!"

I relish my son's imaginative abilities — and realized he was in the middle of quite a war — but I knew I had to get him focused on his homework.

Ever since starting first grade, when homework became more than a coloring page or learning a new letter, Trevor had a hard time getting his work done. He would dutifully get out his assignments, but then lose himself in some fantasy scenario while playing with his school supplies.

The school year had just started, but I was already picturing some tough parent-teacher conferences if I couldn't get him to do his work. And whatever I came up with would have to be pretty darn good.

Trevor and I headed to the garage to find his plastic tool belt before retrieving a large blue towel from the linen closet. With a thick black marker, I drew two large H's on the towel and pinned it around Trevor's neck to make a cape. I clipped his tool belt around his waist and filled it with crayons, stick glue, safety scissors, pencils, and erasers.

"What are you doing, Mom?" Trevor asked, surveying his new wardrobe and liking it already. "Why are you dressing me up when you said I had to do my homework?"

"From now on, when it's time to do your work, you can call on Homework Hero to get the job done!" I exclaimed, pointing to the double H's on his towel "cape."

Trevor's eyes lit up. He loves superheroes, and now he had everything he needed to possess super powers.

"Your first job, Homework Hero, is to conquer addition and complete your math page," I told him. Trevor whipped out a pencil from his belt as he jumped down on his desk chair and began to count. As soon as the page was done, he eagerly asked for the next task, which involved cutting out shapes and gluing them on another page.

"Homework Hero to the rescue!" Trevor shouted and reached for his glue stick and scissors. "I'll get this job done!"

Within a half hour, all of Trevor's homework was completed — the fastest we had finished his work since he started first grade.

"Can Homework Hero help me again tomorrow, when I have to read my library book?" Trevor asked. I assured him he could, happy that my son could be a hero without me having to play bad guy.

How do you keep your kids focused on school work? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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