Tuesday, November 29, 2011

House of Blues

I can honestly say, until the last 'T' is crossed and the last 'I' is dotted each day, I dislike the afternoon and early evening hours.  My wonderful, peaceful, positive house turns into a chaotic HOUSE OF BLUES and my boys turn into the BLUES BROTHERS.  I have 2 boys who dislike homework, just like every other red blooded American teenager, and they let me know it. My son just said, "There's no need for the teachers to give us so much homework after a vacation.  They may as well not give us any vacations." or "I've got a crud load of homework."

When I attended school, I thought I was pretty good about doing my homework, however, my mother has a different version of my teenage years.  She reminded me how she use to nag me to get it done.  "Barbara, if you'd just sit down and do it and get it done, you wouldn't have to worry about it." Math gave me the hardest time. I would cry a river when it came to understanding my math homework.  My oldest brother, who excelled in math, would sit down with me to help.  What a mistake that was.  I would cry and he would say, "But this is so easy, I don't understand why you don't understand it." I can still picture my father walking towards us saying, "Dave, leave her alone. Don't make her cry." I was crying before he even sat down with me.  He had nothing to do with those tears.

I was never worried about it.  The only time I worried about my homework was when I was in class, work not done and there was a possibility the teacher would call on me to read my answer.  I hated homework as much as the next kid on the block.  In my junior year of high school, I was to sit down with my father and question him about the war.   I chose not to do the assignment, and of course, I was called to read my report. I froze.  I told the teacher I didn't do it because my father was out of town (which he often was) and was unable to get my answers.  The truth was, my aunt and uncle were visiting that night and I didn't want to interrupt them.  If I had been smart about it, I would have.  My Uncle Al was also in the war and I could have gotten extra credit, done a 2 for 1 deal.  

I didn't like the teacher and this particular teacher didn't like me.  At the end of class he asked me to stay behind.  He told me he called my mother, my father was not out of town, they had company.  He wanted to know why I lied to him. I lied because that's what teenagers did.  Didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out! 

All my friends were really smart.  They took advanced classes and I always felt a step behind them.  I went to school for the social aspect of it.  I excelled in sports, band, cheerleading and any other social activity I participated in.  I was expected to keep a certain grade point average.  That was my saving grace.  Looking back at my report cards, I was a B+ student.  I'm sure if I had really applied myself I could have made Honor Roll or one of those other rolls my boys seem to be part of each quarter.  

I've been with many educators who do not believe in homework.  I don't believe in homework.  The experts say, whoever the experts are, and exactly what makes you an expert?  The experts say you should be given 10 minutes of homework per grade. So, a first grader 10 minutes, a 9th grader 90 minutes, a 6 grader 60 minutes.

My boys are in the 8th grade, so that equals out to 80 minutes tops. My one son has 60 minutes of homework at home because he has 2 study halls in school, which are each 40 minutes.  So, take 80 minutes in school plus his 60 minutes at home and you can see the 10 minute rule has been thrown right out the window!

My other son comes home from basketball practice at 4:30, with no study halls during the day and he works on homework for 90 minutes until he leaves at 7 pm to do math homework with a tutor for another 120 minutes.  Tonight he also took his science homework with him.  The 10 minute rule was not only thrown out the window on this one, but was run over time and time again.

To me, homework is a total waste of time.  It disrupts the family, it takes away any positive attitude a child has toward school, puts kids on edge, makes parents anxious and nervous, and leads to tears when a child is overtired and overwrought.

Homework will always be a part of children's lives, that's what I tell my two boys.  It's something you have to do, so you might as well pull up your big boy pants and deal with it.  I have a friend who summed it up best with her two children years ago.  Her motto was, "Work hard, play harder."  With all the pressures imposed on our children today, I also told my boys to work hard during the week and play really, really hard on the weekends.

By doing that, my House of Blues will be singing Gospel music with a loud rendition of Alleluia, and all I got to say is, "Amen!"

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