Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate homework

I've got a bit of a TMJ thing going on, I think. My ear is sore, and my jaw pops occasionally. This morning, it finally seemed to be better, but it came back as the girls were getting ready for school. I think it's from gritting my teeth so often.

I am not a big fan of my children's homework. Apparently, they aren't fans of it, either, or I wouldn't have to nag them about it so much. I'd ask my Mom how she got us to do our homework in grade school, but... we didn't have any homework in grade school. I'm probably dating myself by saying this, but when I was a kid, a primary-grade teacher who assigned homework would have been considered totally incompetent. "What on Earth do you do in that school all day?" parents would have asked. Homework didn't start in earnest until junior high.

I don't know where this push for homework came from. I do know that the primary purpose it seems to serve in this household is to drive Mom crazy.

I have this idyllic picture in my mind of Mr. Sane, who teaches high school, coming home around 4:30 (i.e., only staying after school for an hour or so) and doing the bulk of his grading at home, sitting at the dining table with the girls, while they follow Daddy's good example and do their own homework, and I cook dinner uninterrupted. (Crazy though I am, I'm not crazy enough to imagine my girls coming home from school and promptly doing their homework, getting it done before 4 pm because they realize that the sooner they get it done, the more play time they have.)

But noooo. Mr. Sane waltzes through the door around 6 most nights, just in time for dinner. A dinner I have prepared with many interruptions. In addition to the nagging to actually work instead of teasing each other, there's Beta's belief that any reading assignment must be read out loud to Mom and both girls' belief (reinforced by their teachers, I think) that no assignment is complete until Mom has checked it. Yesterday's assignments resulted in unleavened cornbread. No, we weren't celebrating some bizarre Catholic form of Passover; I just got interrupted enough during the measurement of the dry ingredients that it wasn't till I noticed how unevenly the bread was rising that I realized I had completely missed the baking powder. The tablespoon of baking powder. Here's how it looked:

It was rather... chewy, too. Frankly, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.

We've encountered a new problem this week -- the "I haven't done my homework because I've been too busy studying" problem. Yesterday, Alpha was busy poring over atlases in preparation for the school's geography bee, so her math homework didn't get done till this morning. The day before, it was Beta who worked on math-fact practice sheets while ignoring her religion homework. Apparently, unassigned homework, with no direct consequences if it's undone, is much more enticing than stuff that will cause you to miss recess or get a bad grade if you don't do it.

Hmm... maybe I can make this work for me. "I absolutely need you to empty out your hockey bags, but if you have time, you might want to put away all the toys in the playroom." It's possible....

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