My 5th grade daughter has long suffered from lack of motivation to do book reports. I’ve used timers, I’ve taken away privileges, offered bribes, and sometimes just plain given up and let her suffer the consequences of lower grades. Given the current state of my relationship with her teacher (who still has not replied to my email), I’m also suffering from a lack of motivation.
She has three days left to complete a current report assignment, and was only on Chapter 3 as of this weekend. Sure, I gave the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” lecture, but that doesn’t help her now. So I’ve changed tactics again. When it’s too late to go back, all you can do is work with what you have. So I’m teaching my daughter the art of skimming. She’s now skimming the book, looking specifically for information that will help her with the book report.
Let’s face it, most of us have done it! Whether it’s Cliff’s Notes, only going back through the chapter to find the answers to the homework without reading the entire chapter, or picking a topic for a paper which you’ve used in a previous class, most of us have implemented short-cuts. Maybe there was a lot going on at home, maybe we didn’t like the teacher, maybe we were just plain lazy and had to get it done.
There’s a great line in Avenue Q’s “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” about this:
We could be…
Sitting in the computer lab,
4 A.M. before the final paper is due,
Cursing the world ’cause I didn’t start sooner,
And seeing the rest of the class there, too!
We all mess up. We all see how far we can push the boundaries. I’ve decided it’s best for my daughter to learn how to pull herself back up. Talk about preparing her for college!
April McCaffery is the single mother to two daughters, in 5th and 8th grade.