Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diaries, My Toys, Homework Addendum

David has been dying for a diary. I'm not sure why he would want it, but he did. Yesterday it arrived in the mail and he was so excited, especially about the little lock and key. He promptly sat down and penned four pages--they are small pages--of "daer diurey" entries. He wrote about how he felt on the first day of his new school ("I was nervise and I cried to my dad"), difficulties riding a bike, a movie he saw with "three dee glasus" that he liked and a swiming exhibition for parents at camp.
He's not a very expressive writer in general--this is one area of concern we see from his homework--and it was quite a surprise to see him writing freely in this manner. So maybe this is a good way to develop his writing skills and confidence while at the same time giving him an opportunity to "speak up" and vent (and provide us with a window into into his little mind).
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On the subject of homework . . .
I recently had a post about our experiences with David's homework and I aknowledged the debate over the utility of homework in general. One thing I forgot to note is that I like homework because it enables us to know what is going on in David's class and if he is able to keep up. The homework might not help him, but it helps keep us informed.
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I am a pack rat, but over the years I've slowly cleared out all my accumulated crap from my mother's basement. What remains are mostly books (tons of them) as well as some toys and other typical childhood items (baseball cards, comic books, train set, etc.). There was one box with toy soldiers, cowboys and Indians, GI Joes and other action figures. Every time David was in the basement he would stand over this box, salivate and beg me for it's contents. Being the sentimental pack rat that I am, I refused his entreaties. I knew he'll just lose them, break them, etc.
I finally realized that it is really pointless to keep this box in my mother's basement just for the sake of it. They have no real monetary value and what is the point of them collecting dust? Just so once a year I can go downstairs, look at them, and for a fleeting momement have a window into childhood memories? So I brought the box home and started letting him choose items from it on a periodic basis (mostly for rewards/reinforcement).
The box is about half empty now but David is starting to lose interest (and the contents no longer work as well as rewards/reinforcement). I have to wonder what in the heck was I thinking when I kept the box in my mom's house. So now I have this empty box on top of the microwave and what will I do with it if David really loses total interest? Throw it out? Give it away. Maybe I should have just given him the whole box to begin with and let that be the end of it.
This morning David showed me a fake GI Joe that he received from a classmate in return for one of my Star Wars storm troopers. Wait, did I say *my* Star Wars storm trooper? Even though I gave it to him, in my mind I still think of these as my toys and I was disappointed and upset that he so casually and thoughtlessly dispensed with one. But I don't need the storm trooper and if it makes David happy, why should I care? (Although it's not altogether clear to me that David really wanted to make the trade and that he didn't do it because he was coerced into it or in order to curry favor.)

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