Lily hates homework.
I hate it too.
The mutual homework hatred is the perfect feast for the homework freakout, which goes like this:
"Lily time to do your homework."
"WHY DO I HAVE TO DO HOMEWORK I GO TO SCHOOL ALL DAY AND YOU JUST WANT ME TO DO MY HOMEWORK OVER AND OVER AGAIN."
"Get in here, please."
"YOU. HAVE. NO. CHOICE."
"I AM TRYING TO CALM DOWN."
Mike and Chloe and Henry usually go and hide.
Last night, after a marathon of sick day catch up work. Lily was loosing it. ( She was also pretending to fall asleep on the table.) And since we had been working all afternoon on her makeup work, I actually bad for the little first grader.
While I was tempted to use my left hand to complete her homework and send Lily on her way. But, I am stubborn. That kid was finishing her work.
We did yoga instead. And it totally worked.
I borrowed from my kids yoga tool belt of poses that help center, focus and wake up children. We are just in the experimental phases (so look forward to more posts on the subject). But here are the preliminary poses and tools we used to get through homework, when both of us just wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else entirely.
1. Centering breath before, after and in between.
Yoga practice always begins, ends and flows with the breath. So we made the breath a center point in homework time. Before we began, I asked Lily to close her eyes and breath deeply--filling her belly like a balloon and then deflating her balloon. We did the same centering breath whenever we completed a problem set, in between worksheets and whenever she was frustrated.
2. Brain Games
There are all sorts of fun physical ways to challenge your brain. I went for the classic: pat your head while rubbing your stomach. We laughed. Then we did our centering breath. She woke up her brain and I stopped taking homework time so seriously.
3. Bunny Breath
Lily's energy was low. (If it was high, I would not do bunny breath). We did a variation of the adult breath of fire called Bunny Breath. We stuck our fingers in our ears. And then inhaled deeply through our nose, followed by a series of quick exhales through our nose, which was, in turn, scrunched up like a bunny sniffing. This breath builds heat in the body and wakes up the mind.
4. Shake the Sillies out
This is a variation of wrist and ankle rolls. Starting with shoulder rolls and working down through our arms, wrists, hands, legs and feet, we wiggled and rotated our joints. It helped Lily get rid of frustrated energy and replace it with good clean energy. We ended the "pose," with centering breath and got on our way with the homework.
I used these four tools through out homework time, with the clear understanding that we were doing everything in our chairs.
Happy yoga-homeworking! More ideas soon, as the great homework time yoga experiment continues!