How to minimalise Homework grief…(can be applied to any additional learning enviro)
When my daughter started school I felt quite aggrieved about her being given homework. To me, the learning she had to do at school was more than enough and I felt all her spare time should be hers to do as she pleased; ideally in unstructured play. It was my opinion, that this homework malarkey was just the Government expecting me to fill the gaps their antiquated system left! I generated quite a lot of fear-based anger around it, how on earth was I going to squeeze in this extra responsibility on top of my existing overloaded Life???
There is a Global debate on the merits of extra ‘learning’ and finding a balance in allowing the brain some free time to just ‘be’, which I subscribe too. We all seem to differ in our approaches, with studies being carried out, and debated, on the impact it has on our collective intellectual capital and economic success ( BBC Newsround Homework Debate) It’s not entirely clear what the best approach it, but this article makes some good points in support of and the need for a balance; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/many-elementary-students-schooling-now-homework-free/
* Note to Self….Everything in this Life seems to be about balance!!!
However, I hadn’t accounted for a few fundamental facts that would challenge my views. A) I’d given birth to a child who loves learning?!, B) I found it a good way to keep up with what she was learning and it made me devote some time to just ‘us’, and finally, C) My responsible nature meant I couldn’t ignore the obligation in practice…I am actually a total law-abiding square at heart!
Just before you are misled into thinking, what a lucky bitch I am for having birthed a child who loves to learn… I have to admit her love only lasted during Reception, by Year 1 it had all become, and remains, a tedious chore for us to argue about. However, by this time Homework was a well established practice and no longer a debatable extra.
And just to demonstrate I am as up against it as everyone else, my second child has no such compulsion for learning. He especially struggles with reading, and will employ a whole arsenal of avoidance tactics…..He managed to orchestrate the entire Summer holiday in this manner and it was literally the week before he was due back, that my husband and I realised he had forgotten how to read!
*If you don’t use it, you loose it!
Aaaaaarrrgggggg! So once again, we had to enforce some very strict nightly reading sessions. The pain all-round was quite indescribable, tears, tantrums, and mountains of praise, you name it we did it….Given that we live in a modern dry-walled box, I dread to imagine what our neighbours thought we were all doing to each other! After 3 slow weeks, he is beginning to return to the level he had achieved pre-Summer; that again was down to nightly reading sessions at home.
*Proving, with children, you snooze, you loose!
Why did, and do, we bother to put ourselves through this torture? We do it with the knowledge that it doesn’t take much, for either of our children, to give up. If they struggle to get things right or don’t regularly win, they simply lose interest and won’t participate; don’t ever accept an invitation to play Monopoly with us, unless you want to witness simultaneous breakdowns…the Banker has to be able to add and subtract in a timely manner!
I want them to enjoy their schooling and develop a love of learning. I don’t want them to feel bad about themselves because they have fallen behind at school and I don’t want them dis-engaging and getting into trouble….like I did! Admittedly, my homework support service has a limited shelf-span, and I will be out of my depth soon, but then I will simply call in the experts because it’s too important..Discover and Be!
Now I have painted you a picture of the challenges we face, to create a calm, conducive, learning environs, I will share with you some tools I use to support my efforts. Firstly, I have established a weekly routine that I pretty much won’t break….we do Homework on set days after School. I choose to do it during the week, so the weekends are completely free of structured learning; I also don’t want to fight about that at the weekends, not when there is so much else on offer to argue about….untidy rooms, diet choices etc.
The caveat to that is reading, it is a nightly affair….my daughter now largely reads to herself, we carry out random tests, but my son needs to be micro-managed to make this happen. Luckily, both my kids like a routine…they like to know what’s coming next so they can try to take charge of it…we’re all very bossy!
The next weapon in my artillery are my essential oils….I happen to sell them so I have them to hand, don’t worry I can sell them to you as well if you are interested ;-D. As my kids are little, I have to be careful how I apply them, the oils I use (www.doterra.com) are the purest you can buy so are uber-potent. Thus I use my diffuser, you should never use oils in an oil burner because the heat will destroy all the medicinal properties, much like with virgin olive oil when cooking.
I put it on before I pick them up from school, this way when they get home it not only smells great, it immediately calms and grounds them; it’s quite safe to leave a diffuser on as long as it has enough water in it, most have timers so go off automatically. It takes 30 seconds for the oils to hit their blood streams and 20 minutes to penetrate their cells. NB. Essentials oils are an ancient medicinal practice that has been largely lost to us with the advent of science, which was roughly 500 years ago! They carry no side-effects and actually penetrate to the cause of the illness, as opposed to modern medicine, which can’t penetrate our cellular membranes and thus only treats the symptoms.
To create a calm but focused learning ambience, I make up a mixture within my diffuser; a drop of peppermint to re-energize everyone (1 drop = 24 cups of mint tea), 2 drops of On-Guard (this is a blend of wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon bark/leaf, eucalyptus leaf, rosemary leaf/flower), this mix helps to stave off seasonal infections, whilst is a mood uplifter and helps with focus, 1 drop of rose to engender feelings of love and comfort. The rose is optional, some people love the smell some think it smells of poo….As depicted in this image, you can just use Wild Orange instead of On-Guard as a mood enhancer…I just like to zap infections at the same time.
When I am met with extreme tiredness, I do mix 1 drop (it’s ridiculously powerful) of peppermint with my carrier oil (coconut) and get the child to inhale it from my fingers and then dab it on their pulse points and back of head. Peppermint is a caffeine replacement, so it gives a big energy kick. Or, you can add a drop to warm water to drink, because when ingested, it promotes healthy respiratory function, clear breathing and great digestive health; remember we now know most of our intelligence comes from our guts!
On the occasions the moodiness knows no bounds, I use lavender oil to calm. Again I use a carrier oil because my kids are young, and get them to inhale and rub it on their pulse points.
And if you don’t believe me, check out this kid Fallon, who carried out her own study on how effective essential oils were on learning…https://www.doterra.com/US/en/brochures-magazines-doterra-living-fall-2014-can-essential-oils-improve-classroom-behavior
I appreciate essential oils maybe an entirely new approach for some of you, but I am sure not for all. I am more than happy to send/give you free samples so you can test their effectiveness for yourself, simply get in touch with me at email@example.com or visit my website at www.celticwitchmama.com , where you can buy them from me direct.
Originally published at celticwitchmama.com on September 18, 2018.