Mar 26, 2009

Homework and Joe.

Not for any righteous reasons and not because when hubby and I were dating we discussed how our kids would definitely be doing their own homework, but simply because I am not smart enough to help them, my kids are in charge of their OWN homework....gasp.

I help brainstorm if asked.
I ask questions if grades are dropping.
I ask questions if teachers are calling.
I ask questions if there is an unusual amount of tears in the evenings.
I am extremely good at purchasing poster board.

Otherwise, my evenings are free. I feel so strange when people ask me how I help get all my kids homework done and I do not have an answer. Hmmmm.... "Well, I don't get it done...they do." They come home from school and do it when they feel like it. Tatiana, Miriam, Zach and Natalie do it right away so it is done. Madeline, Amanda, and Joe choose to do what they want when they get home and do homework later...sometimes way too late but I let them figure out the consequences to that. Some people work better that way. Those may be the people who do the stuff for the Primary activity the night before the activity when they grow up.

Will you promise to still read my blog if I ruin your picture in your mind of me and my children gathered around the table in the evening with a checkered tablecloth on the table and a candle lit all doing homework with smiles on our faces and neatly pressed clothes on ?

I rarely ask them if they have homework there are so many things to be reminding kids about and talking to them about that I hate to have to constantly ask about homework so I just don't. I never call the homework hot line. They are all on their own. So far I think it has worked out fine. One kid has a 4 year full tuition scholarship to BYU and one has a half tuition scholarship to BYU. The rest have all A's and B's except for Amanda's "C" in that annoying class I mentioned two posts ago, Joe's "C" in Math and Miriam's "C" in Math. They all have their homework always turned in so I leave them alone....yes, even the kindergartner.

Occasionally this homework "plan" that has been the "plan" since the family began in 1988 will not go as it well...."planned", and it usually involves the name, Joe.

This morning (that is the first problem with this story, "homework" and "morning" never belong in the same sentence do they?) as Joe is all ready for school and watching out the window for the bus to come by I hear him mutter something under his breath. Something involving the words "forgot" and "again." I ask what is wrong. ( you should never ask) And he proceeds to explain that he has three essays due today....that he forgot about. Do you see how successful the hands off homework thing is? :) So I ask some more questions and he actually produces two of the three essays for me. Outlines written, papers typed, all looking very beautiful so I am a little confused. I proceed to listen as he starts talking very emotionally and loudly. I hear a lot of words like:

"4 weeks,"
"told to do it again,"
"didn't understand"

and then I hear phrases like:

"three paragraphs"
"five sentences in each paragraph."

So I look at the essays again. His first one is supposed to be about someone he admires. He chose to admire his friend Tom at school. And this is the gist of what he wrote:

I admire Tom. (first paragraph)

I admire Tom because he has an X Box 360. I admire Tom because he has a hot tub and it is fun.

I admire Tom because he has a very funny cat. (third paragraph)

I am beginning to see the trouble. So I say to Joe, "Can you think of any reasons you admire Tom that do not involve what he owns?" He could not think of any off hand. So I explained that most of the time we admire someone not for what they have but for who they are and how they accomplish things. So we started brainstorming about other possibilities of people to admire. And it took awhile to talk him out of admiring Tom's earthly possessions but we finally figured out someone he did admire that he could actually write three, five sentence paragraphs about. He was late to school for the first time this year. I had to call the teacher and figure out what the real assignment actually was since Joe was so confused. It is amusing how he just needed someone to ask him a few questions to get his brain going and he was able to write an awesome paper about his science teacher who deserves admiration for teaching a million 13 year olds everyday...Tom is very nice but did not deserve admiration for owning an X Box360 did he?


Bernd and Rachel said...

I have the same hands-off approach to homework too. It works for me! (Hmmm...are we related?) Of course, this year, Kate has thrown a bit of a wrench in the whole thing by rebelling against what she calls "boring hoemwork", but I think she is coming around.:)

CJ said...

I think schools give out too much homework. I usually learned more from the teachers who didn't give me a ton of homework then the ones who did. I hated it, didn't want to learn from them and only remembered it long enough to pass the test and then forgot it.