Friday, May 20, 2011

Homework Detention

A few weeks after we moved to this new school district, the kids brought home a paper from school.  It read that anyone who didn't bring back to school their homework, as well as their parent's signature on their daily agenda, would receive homework detention.  They would not only miss out on their recess, but have to stay after school for one hour, so they could use that time to complete their missing homework.

I'm sure this came about because of the numerous homework excuses that they received every morning.  I think it was also a way to make parents accountable for what their kids were responsible for.  As we found out a few weeks into this new policy, if a child presents their finished homework, but doesn't have a parent's signature on their agenda for that day, they still qualify for homework detention.  Afterall, it's the signature that proves the child's claim that they also read for the allotted 30 minutes a day.  Luckily, a quick phone call home determined that Keaton had indeed read the previous day, and it was simply parent-neglect, for which he shouldn't be punished for.

However, on Wednesday, Keaton procrastinated his homework assignments.  I repeatedly instructed him to do his homework first, and then he could play outside, but he fervently said "It's just such a beautiful afternoon. I promise I'll do my homework later.  Can I pleeeaaaase play now?"  So I let him.  Later, after dinner and chores were done, it was time for bed.  I had forgotten that Keaton didn't get his homework done.  I helped Kolby with his right after school, and Kamy did her's at that point as well.  Keaton normally doesn't require too much help from me, so it slipped my mind.  Apparently, it slipped Keaton's as well.

The next morning, exactly 90 seconds before he had to walk out the door, Keaton remembered that he didn't have his homework done.  There, in his hands, were three sheets of white paper that seemed to glimmer with nakedness, having no pencil lead markings across them.

Out of desperation, Keaton sat down and said "I'm gonna do it real quick!  Mom can you help me!!"  But alas, there was just too much work to be done in 90 seconds.  I told him that, and instantly tears formed in his eyes.  "But mom, I can't have homework detention!  I just can't!"

I held his little face in my hands and looked him in his tear-filled eyes.  I told him that I couldn't sign his paper like he wanted me to, because that would be wrong.  He had made a promise the previous day that he would do his homework after he played, but he didn't. Now he had to own up to that, and suffer the consequences of his actions.  I also told him that just because he would go to detention, didn't mean he was a bad boy.  It's just a specific time where he can make sure to get his homework done, and not be distracted.

Oh, Keaton was devastated.  He cried his way to school.  I was sure I would get a phone call from his teacher, or the office, to talk about his detention, but I didn't.

At the end of the school day, Keaton came home with the other kids, right on time.  I said "Didn't you have to have homework detention today?"  He replied with a smile.  "Nope!  I told my teacher that we both forgot about homework, and she said we could just do it today."  Then he brought out five sheets of homework (for two days-worth) and sat down at the table to do them.

I wasn't sure whether to scold Keaton for not being entirely truthful with his teacher, or if I should be happy that my sweet, sensitive little boy didn't have to cry his way through detention.  Either way, it was a lesson learned for Keaton.  I don't think he'll neglect his homework again.


courtney said...

I think that Keaton has just proved himself to be a really good boy and so his teacher gave him a second chance.

I think that is as it should be. There are teachers out there that don't give second chances but in life, you get second chances all the time. Especially if you prove yourself a good student!

runningfan said...

I guess I'm a cranky old mom -- I would have been mad at the teacher who let my kid avoid a natural consequence. :) But hopefully he learned the lesson anyway!

Maynards said...

Glad things turned out well. Good lesson learned though!

Colleen said...

Aw, I can see his sad little face. I think the best lessons are the ones with natural consequences. Glad he got the fear, but not the detention!