Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Not My Homework!

I have a confession. I am not good about leaving my children unattended with their homework. I like to fuss over it and work at it until it's perfect and my boys could really care less that their essays are neatly paginated and processed for publication. Now there's this Egypt project. We have less than a month and my procrastinating progeny are not concerned. Not one bit.

Alas, what's an overachieving mother with underachieving children to do?

Stop doing these things, that's what. How simple that sounds. Do you know how hard it is to work full time and go to elementary school? This probably explains the lack of grade-schoolers holding down high powered careers. (Although, with some folks I wonder.) Anyway, I often tell people:

"I'm in 6th grade. I did quite well in 5th grade as it was not as tedious and time consuming as 4th grade. It's not that the 4th grade work was hard, there was just so much of it the weight of the worksheets hung on my back like a Spiderman backpack full of bricks and uneaten sandwiches from two weeks ago."

(Sidenote, we did find month old grapes in Peter's lunch box this morning. I convinced him not to open the bag and to leave it in the trash while slowing backing away from it so its arms and legs couldn't pull him down into the bin. I'm pretty sure that the liquid in the grape bag was lunchbox wine. A Merlot perhaps? I should have kept it.)

But what does all of this effort get you? I offer you EXHIBIT A:

A few weeks back there were some science projects completed in excess of 95% by the child. What progress I'm making! Peter's project was laborious and a pain the neck (I wanted to say ass but I'm not swearing like a truck driver on account of my Baudelairean virtues). He did all the text and it took me like nine hours to lay it out and print it. I hate Microsoft templates. I hate my printer and the thieves that sell printer toner. Anyway, after all of that work, and a decent project, he only got an 87.

WHAT? An 87? How could I, I mean Peter, get a B on the project! All that work and a grade with no character building comments? No feedback except for one, stupid, insipid little sentence that was no help at all? How can this B, er, be?

Peter didn't care one bit. He was busy celebrating a week without lunch detention.

I resolved to work just a little bit harder next time. I probably should spend more time in my room thinking about how I can improve my schoolwork.

P.S. My darling husband is just as guilty. We're enablers- partners in crime. Once, when the boys were in 2nd grade, they were studying the Constitution and had to find articles in the newspaper that were related to the Bill of Rights. This husband, this father, a lawyer no less, with a penchant for Constitutional questions, took the homework and did it himself. He highlighted the pages and clipped them carefully to each Right he found, including but certainly not limited to, articles that were hard to explain to a 2nd grader. Dad turned in his homework, thanks to his sons, and got an A. I still can't believe it.


Braja said...

Hey JBA ... thanks for comin' by, nice to "meet" you :)

JBA said...

Nice to meet you too! I'm hoping to channel some of your peacefulness!

Just B said...

This was very funny! But having been a sixth grade teacher in Greenwich, CT where the parents/nannies/tutors/hired homework "assistants" do 95% of the homework stop NOW!! For your own sanity and your sons' future humanness--not to be overly dramatic!!

Connie said...

I hear you Jennifer. Sometimes it's really hard though as they haven't the first clue where to begin with their homework! I occasionally wonder how I made it through 3rd grade- some of this stuff is tough- albeit I don't have the benefit of the teacher's explanation in class and Mack can't ever seem to recall anything that was said in class- frankly, because he doesn't CARE.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the CT teacher and think it is time you sit back and let the kids suffer their own consequences of not completing their work. They will live through it and so will you and your husband. They will figure it all out eventually........And you will not feel like you have to pass every aspect of 6th grade AGAIN!

JBA said...

Sounds like I need to cook up another goal for 2009!

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

You are such a trip! I had to stop laughing long enough to make a comment. :o)
I think that teacher is wrong! Wrong, I say! How could she give you ... um, the kid ... a "B"!! [lol]
Sparky ♥ ∞

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing?

JBA said...

Hey, I'm fine, except for the frickin' B on the homework. How you doin'?