Sunday, December 6, 2009
Did you do your Homework?
I'm thinking if I had known that having a child would entail having to repeat Kindergarten through grade eight again, I may have re-considered. I hated school the first time around and I have zero desire to go through it again. Now that my daughter is in her second year of high school, I figured I was off the hook in the "homework help" department, but Noooooo - not yet mama! Don't get me wrong, I love my kid - would lay down and die for her if I had to, but I draw the line at coming home from a long day at work and going back in time to the days of book reports and essays and science projects. I have been there. Done that. Don't want to do it anymore. I already handed in all that crap once. I already procrastinated until the night before a deadline. I already hung my head in shame when the teacher handed me back a lousy mark. I don't need to go through it again now. Why should I have to? I pay good money for my kid to go to school. I am not a teacher. I never wanted to be a teacher. Truth be known, I am not a very good teacher. I am impatient and uninterested in most of the subject matters. I could care less about periodic tables, trigonometry or geological rock formations. I learned it and forgot it once and have no desire to go down that particular road of higher learning again. I can tolerate anything to do with English literature, drama or classic American novels, but she doesn't seem to need so much help with that stuff. Go figure. I recall my own mother helping me ONCE in my life with homework. It was in grade 4. I had to make a plaster of Paris map of South America on a sheet of Bristol board. She helped me mix the goop, trace the outline of the continent and make little flags out of paper and toothpicks with the name of each country on them. After all that, she had to help me carry it to school so it would not crumble into a million pieces. It was bright green and showed the mountain ranges in elevated points like stiff egg whites form a peak after you beat them long enough. I thought it was a masterpiece. She probably hated every minute of the project and couldn't wait until it was done. Bet she even cursed the teacher who assigned it for months after. She had it easy. Just the one. I have had more than my fair share of these "projects" over the years. The styrofoam solar system, the aboriginal long house made meticulously out of little twigs and sticks cut down to size from our own trees and shrubs, complete with little people and animals wandering through the village. Or how about the power point presentation of the history of Astronomy? That was several nights when I could have been doing something I LIKED doing. It begs the question, will she stop needing my help by the time she is in university? Please - tell me it won't be so. What have we done to our kids? Can they do nothing on their own? I did it all by myself. No one helped me. Sure, I may have scored some higher grades if I had enlisted some help, but I managed somehow, didn't I? And...the money! Every project seemed to require a trip to the craft supply store for endless supplies that would never be used more than once. What happens when families on tight budgets can't afford these extravagant trips to Mastermind or Scholar's Choice? Heaven help we could make something out of flour, water and food colouring - all things we have on hand in the average kitchen. That would be far too simple. No wonder "parenting" has become a verb. We do way more than our parents did. The only time my parents got involved in my homework was when they would occasionally ask - "Did you do your homework?" Yes, I would lie. All done. That was it. They never asked to see it, review it with me, quiz me on dates, names or places. Their only job was to ask if we had done it. It was up to us to face the consequences of poorly thrown together assignments or missed deadlines. It prepared us for the real world. It prepared us for life. We may want to re-think our motives and stop the helicopter blades. We aren't doing them any favours. That much I know for sure.