Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Arch-nemesis – HOMEWORK!


I was a relatively good student growing up. I was not so blessed as to get straight A’s, but fortunate enough to get all A’s and B’s with little more effort than paying attention in class and doing the homework.

I didn’t mind homework. I mean sure I would have rather spent time watching Scooby-Doo, The Brady Bunch or The Facts of Life, but who wouldn’t? The only childhood memories I have of homework with my parents’ help was struggling with my dad to study my spelling words.

[For the record, I totally suck at spelling. Seriously, in my first 3 attempts to spell arch-nemesis, spell check I no idea what I was going for. I finally defaulted to Google. I love Google.]

My dad would sit on the couch with my list and ask, “ Did you study these?”

Me – Yes

Dad – Are you sure?

Me – Yeeeesssss (insert eye-roll) –well I assume I did. Anna had to get it from somewhere.

Dad – Ok. First word – whatever, it really didn’t matter, I was going to misspell it.

And I did.

And then the second.

And by the third misspelled word my dad would send me off on my way to study the list again so when he asked me them I would get them right. Now that I am grown, I know it really means so I didn’t waist his time and his involvement in studying was minimal. (I can relate.)

Now that I am grown with children of my own, I realize once again how much times have changed. First, there is no way my parents would have had 6 kids if they had to spend the time I spend with my kids on their homework. I have heard rumors that parents can just tell their children to do it, and it gets done, but I have never seen with my own eyes.

I wish I had actual footage, but this is pretty close.
In this house, the mere mention of Hom….would start my kids into a frenzy. Literally it takes me longer to get them to sit down with a pencil in hand and the paper they need in front of them than it does to complete the assignment.

It is typically preceded by 20-30 minutes of moaning, stomping, book bag dragging, sulking, “it’s not fair”–for a 5-10 minute paper. Then multiply that by 2. I do try to get the moaning happening at the same time so at least I can condense it to 1 single loud episode vs. an hour long at a medium-roar.

Then the paper gets completed, checked by me (or Pete, then rechecked by me), erased because the directions weren’t followed, another round of moaning (though typically a bit shorter than the first since they tend to run out of steam), before finally completing the assignment. This is all assuming that I know how to do what the homework is asking. Don’t get me started on how they teach math these days. That is a whole separate post.

For all of you reading with older children, please give me hope that it gets easier. For those of you with younger children, enjoy the pre-school years while they last and may your children like school more than mine. If I ever find Homework’s weak spot, I will pass it along.

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