Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homework Hater

I have a friend who, God bless her soul, frequently posts the disadvantages of homework for elementary-age kids on FaceBook. I read the quotes/article. I "like" with gusto! and respond with an enthusiastic comment about how much I hate homework, too.

I was reminded just this morning of how very much I hate homework when I saw The Calendar on my kitchen counter, waiting to be filled out and signed by none other than yours truly. This calendar is an opportunity for my daughter to earn extra credit in math. Who, in their right mind, skips the chance to earn a few extra points?

Us.

Heather Duncan Richardson's photo.
Blank. Perfect.
The criteria are simple: spend 45 minutes per week on a math website called iXL, fill in the calendar with your time each day, and have a parent sign and return. The same week. No back-filling and signing, people. This is not a hard assignment. But I studied this calendar for the month of February (what's today...the 18th?) and not a single, solitary minute has been logged. It's completely blank. Never mind the fact that she has actually done the iXL. Never mind the fact that she's spent 45 minutes doing it. (A feat in and of itself.) We never logged our time, I never signed it, she never turned it in, and her weekly 3 points for the first couple of weeks in February are lost forever.

I think The Calendar has gotten turned in twice during the whole school year.

Homework is not just a kid's job, by the way. It involves heavy parent participation, especially when one's child does not understand/want to do/ is distracted from/could care less about his or her homework. They would quite rather watch paint dry. It is literally the means to an end in our house. A very painful, drawn out, frustrating end.

I apologize to those of you whose children are brilliant thinkers who like their homework. I know you're out there. You probably like doing their homework with them, even though you don't have to. A bonding experience, one might say. You are a good parent.

Then there are parents like me. Parents who didn't get the memo that the old way to do math isn't the new way to do math. (Who knew my way was the old way?). Parents who may have been corrected via written note on this aforementioned "new" way.

Our experience most definitely does not include the words bonding, love, friendship, harmony, affection, affinity, or friendliness.

You might be thinking I should get it together, so let's be honest. I do not want to get it together because I do not like doing their homework with them.

I cannot spend another minute converting fractions into decimals by hand. That's why calculators were invented. I cannot spend another second studying ancient Mali or ancient Rome. While interesting, I have a handy device called a smartphone that can be pulled out when such information is needed immediately, should I ever be in the center of a raging ancient Mali debate.

Teachers.

I could never do what you do. You have one of the hardest jobs I can think of.

Just so we're all on the same page: I know you don't like homework, either.

But now you'll have to excuse me. I've just discovered a sheet of  neatly written definitions laying in the office that I'm pretty sure someone should have turned in yesterday.

Maybe last week.

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