It's the same thing everyday. The kids come home from school, I have a little snack waiting for them, and then it's time to do their homework. Kamy and Keaton go right to the table, with their folders, books, and papers, and they get right to work without a word of complaint.
Then there is Kolby. The moment "homework" is spoken, the fit starts. Shoulders start to shake, hands flail out, legs start bouncing, feet go berserk, head flops back, mouth hangs open, and out comes the most pathetic and annoying wails which proclaim the unjustness of his life.
And ya know what? I'm sick of it. I'm sick of how he reacts to reading books with me, practicing his flashcards, writing down spelling words, and every other tiny little thing he has to do for homework. Sick Sick Sick!
With Kolby, nothing gets his attention better than sugar. You mention that word, and his face lights up, his eyes get bigger, his mouth salivates in anticipation, and he is suddenly the most well behaved little boy.
So what's a mom to do? She resorts to bribery. In the middle of his homework fit, I say: "Hey Kolby, if you write your spelling words, I'll give you a mini marshmallow for every word you write." (Kolby's eyebrows perk up.) "It says in your directions that you need to write them three times each. I will write the first set, and next to that, you write the word two more times."
Cleverly adding a little math to the negotiation, I tell him that he has 10 spelling words, and if he writes each word one time, how many mini marshmallows will he get? He immediately replies that he will get 10, and basks in the vision of marshmallows dancing around him. Then I tell him that if he writes the words two times each, he will get double the marshmallows, and ask him how many he would have. He thinks for a second, then yells in delight that he will get 20 marshmallows!! He giggles in delight and is positively sure that he has just outsmarted his mom into willingly giving him sugar.
The only catch is that he must write the words very well. If he doesn't succeed, he won't get his treat. So, with enthusiasm that in the past has never accompanied spelling homework, he sets to work.
As each word is completed, he yells out the total of marshmallows he is up to. "Twelve marshmallows! Ha Ha!!!"
At the end, he succeeded in writing his spelling words better than I've ever seen him write before. One thing that Kolby likes to do, is dress up his letters with a little curly Q at the end. His "h" and "n" letters get the most flamboyant of a curl.
So he wrote his ten spelling words two times each, and then he got to count out his 20 mini marshmallows.
He was very proud of himself. And I've got to tell ya, so was I. We didn't finish his other homework, because he took so long perfecting his spelling words, but I feel that the day was an accomplishment...thanks to the magic of a mini marshmallow; or in this case, 20.