No Recess


It will surely be the death of both my daughter and I.

I have read many articles on how to have a positive homework time. I have even attempted to implement many of these tricks and tools of the trade.

It has become quite clear that none of these people have met my daughter.

I will sometimes be at the stove cooking while she is doing homework, because some suggest I engage in activity of my own while the student is close by doing his or her 'study time,' because calling it home work can supposedly set them off. This absolutely had me laughing aloud. I might as well rename every task I ask them to do that does not entail fun for all ages, perhaps a new thesaurus should be created for parenting?

The only progress I have during this alternate activity while she engages in 'study time,'is my own private thoughts of, 'I want to take this pot and bang it over the top of my head.' Because then I might pass out and this will be an excuse for not being able to complete the homework for that night. 'Dear Mr. Taco, K was unable to complete her homework last night due the family having to take a trip to the E.R. for an injury I acquired while cooking dinner.' I call her teacher Mr. Taco. I do this for one of two reasons, it will make her laugh, it will also annoy her when done too often, and that makes me laugh.

One article I read started off like this,  'Most children do not like homework.' Really? Wow. This article must be written by a rocket scientist, so I promptly skipped onto the next one.

Another article said that is the child's problem if they do not complete their homework, you cannot make them do it, make them take responsibility. This one is really hilarious. Has this person ever been to a parent/teacher conference? Last time I checked it was my responsibility to show these children how to be functioning human beings. Parent/Teacher conferences are really for you, the parent, to assess just how well you are succeeding at this job bestowed to you through your act of fornication. You sit there with progress and lack of progress charts in front of you so that you can see where you need to be more diligent with this child and ride them until they can count by two's until 100. You know you might say I take things a little to personally, that really it is the child who needs to take responsibility, it isn't a direct reflection of your parenting if they are not doing well in school. Listen, unless there is a direct diagnosis that explains and justifies their inability to be on average level, you know it as well as me, the target sits on our heads.

Middle Man couldn't get his home address right, and it was almost like I was failing him as a parent. The teachers looked at me with pained concern as they told me he couldn't say it completely correct. I almost said, listen, this kid isn't in Kindergarten for a reason, can we cut him a little slack with the lack of simply not knowing his zip code at age 5? But instead an entire weekend was spent on address drills; singing songs, repeating on drives to run errands, and just randomly shouting it out like I had tourettes throughout the day, and he would repeat. You best believe this child beat the crap out of this address and repeated it on Monday at school. I asked him when he got home to repeat it to me one more time, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. I said, 'What if you get lost and someone needs to get you home, how would you tell them where you live?!?!?' His response, 'Mommy, where would I get lost, I am always with you, and I don't talk to strangers.' Ok....' but what if a friend wants to send you mail or an invitation to a party, and they need your address?' He says, 'Mommy, we don't know how to write letters, their mom's can just ask you.' Touche. He then whispered the address under his breath just to make sure he knew it, I presume, just in case I was right, dude can't miss a party.

Mr. Taco wants us to read with our child, his student, every night of the week for 20 minutes, including weekends, and initial that we did this on the homework sheet. Mr. Taco, do you read to your child on Friday and Saturday nights? Come on. I will let you in on a secret. I totally lie about it sometimes and just initial that we did it. Because after an entire Saturday filled with activities and the child falling asleep on the ride home, you have got to be crazy if you think I am going to wake her up and read with her for 20 minutes. I would rather stick a pencil in my eye.

K's favorite thing to say about homework is this, 'I can't do it.' Of course in normal fashion this is very theatrical and over exaggerated. None the less, one article said that my response to this should be, 'act as if you can.' I tried that one night. She looks at me like I am crazy. I did even feel a little crazy for even saying it. 'What does that mean, act like I can?' I looked at her and said, 'yeah, I haven't the slightest clue either.' I mean really what does that even mean?

Of course there is the cardinal rules; don't bribe, don't threaten, don't give monetary or external rewards, don't engage in an argument. You know you guys totally do this at some point, I mean there is only so much patience one can have. And let's be honest, if homework is not done, it is the parents held accountable. We are called, emailed, asked to come in and speak with the teacher. We walk the walk of shame into the school because she didn't complete her 10 spelling sentences for quite some time. I will not do this, this child will do her homework. One time I totally acted like I was video taping her performance about the injustice of homework so that when Mr. Taco emailed me I could totally show this to him. My phone doesn't even video tape, but that girl sat right on down and finished a week's worth of homework in one sitting.

One night, before the homework packet was due for the week before I told her, 'K, you didn't finish it, I am not handing this in until you are done.' She seemed to be fine with this, like, oh well, there is always next week, and went on with her Justin Bieber performance with Just Dance, like consequences don't matter when it comes to school work. I was tired, and I didn't feel like getting into it with her that day, and promised the next day I would come up with our own plan, not an article's plan, to get homework done with minimal fights, oscar winning performances, threats and tears, aware that there would be some, but regardless homework needed to be done. That next day, after making charts, a special homework spot, a homework contract to go over together, the front door busts open at 4 pm announcing her arrival home from school. 'MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You didn't hand in my homework paper and I had to stay in at recess and do school work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' I almost busted out laughing. This reaction was worth the naptime spent on homework ideas. Here was my answer, Mr. Taco pulled through better then I ever could have. I looked right at her and said, 'K, I will help you with homework every single night, but if you give me trouble, I will stop without warning and will not put it in your folder the next day.' This child sits down everyday after school and does her homework. God forbid we look bad in front of our peers and miss recess!!!!

So at some point, she got the message. School is like the ultimate authority right now. For some reason the fear of God is instilled in most children about what is expected as far as behavior and work in school, she is one of those children. I now have the golden ticket, you don't do something at home for school, your consequence is with Mr. Taco at school, and this is like the end of the world to her. Phew. I can stop googling how to get her to do homework and just say...'no recess'...at least until we get to trigonometry. Then we are just plain screwed.

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