630pm Sunday night I’m in the shower.
“Dad where’s my iPad I need to do homework.”
I open my eyes letting the soap seep in. The burning sensation offsetting the immense pain I feel from having to deal with last minute homework.
“I asked you 3 times this weekend if you had homework and you said no”
“But I forgot and now I really have to do it. I’ve already been given an extension.” pleads my youngest
I squeeze a bottle of shampoo directly into my left eyeball and breathe.
I’ve a choice to make. Refuse to give the iPad and teach a lesson in not leaving things to the last minute. Or hand over the iPad and let him do his homework.
One has hours of hell attached. The other doesn’t.
“Fuck it” says my inner voice as I hand over the ipad and pour myself a large whisky
Homework. Teachers way of punishing parents. A fuck you for sending us your devil child.
Homework. The biggest waste of children’s time since fortnite and water bottle flipping.
My kids generally refuse to do it. And ultimately deal with lunchtime detentions.
I am in a quandary. Push and push and push and fight and argue about homework. Or remind them once. And let them deal with the consequences.
And that’s what I’ve chosen to do. Now It’s up to them. Do it or not do it. I’m not going to make myself stressed over it. It’s a nightly ritual that I have no interest in taking part in.
Max now in high school was told he will have hours of homework each week. And if he doesn’t complete the work for each class in school then he will need to complete at home. Or during recess. Fine. Do it in recess. Or don’t do it and deal with the consequences.
For me homework’s isn’t so much about the work itself. It’s about the discipline of sitting down, finding the time and focusing on a task.
I’ve never met one soul who told me they dropped out of school for not doing homework. Or never made something of themselves because they didn’t do homework.
The discipline of sitting down to study will come. It will come via peer pressure or it will come in the pressure of exams. And you will either conform or not. And no amount of parent pressuring will change this. It is already determined.
We can help in understanding, comforting and nurturing our children through these stressful times. We can’t force a child to study. But you can force a child to sit at a table staring at books.
I’m not at the GCSE or VCE stage yet. But I remember like yesterday the hours of study sitting at the dining room table. The stress. The pressure. The reading but not remembering.
It is such an antiquated system. There should be different ways to prove your academic qualities. A way to define your individuality. We all learn differently. That is now a given. So why are we not tested in a way specific to our individuality?
No. Now we are still sitting in school halls.
In years to come it will be different. If exams exist at all.
I have two children. Both completely different learners.
One. Methodical. A thinker. Quiet. Reserved (at times). Intelligent. Thoughtful. Boyish. Cheeky. Fun and funny. Outlandish.
But he is a conformist. When it comes down to it he will, albeit reluctantly, sit down and study. He accepts that if he does the crime he does the time.
The other. Intelligent and impulsive. Resilient. Tough. Argumentative. Passionate. Rambunctious. Smart. Desperate. Arrogant. Inquisitive. Belligerent. Determined. Unrelenting. Demanding. Independent. Logical. Unconventional.
The kind of kid you read about in biographies.
He refuses to do homework. Doesn’t see the point. Believes it’s a waste of his time. He works 7 hours a day at school so why should he do more at home.
Hard to argue with.
And through all this. As my wife preps them and prepares them for their week at school and finally gets one off to bed. There is still nothing more annoying than a child who tells you 2 hours after dinner.
“can I please have a cheese toasty”.
You say no, knowing that no is not no. And that ultimately a cheese toasty will be made. As will the mess that you have also threatened with an untimely death, should the kitchen not return to its immaculate state.
And I stab my leg with the closest instrument, which happens to be the taser gun I bought to keep my kids in line….and through gritted teeth say;
“make it yourself and don’t make a mess”
and I throw back another measure of single malt which, like the shampoo, offsets the nightly pain of……….