Thursday, November 8, 2012


I dropped 3 of my kids off at school this morning, dug through the massive collection of wadded papers in my 3rd grader's cubby, and returned home, humming the Funeral March.

dum dum dum DUM da-dum da-dum da DUM!

The above-mentioned 3rd grader is my son, who stayed home from school today.  Oh no, he is not sick.  This is a first in our household:  I kept my son home today to do his homework.  Irresponsible parent, you say?  Enabling, you say?  Clearly you don't understand the parameters under which I kept him home.

Yesterday, his teacher sent home a reminder about missing work so that we could help him catch up before the trimester ends.  Tomorrow.  That may have been enough warning for your average 3rd grader.  Not so for my son.  He was missing approximately 48 pieces of homework (I am not even close to exaggerating). 

Let me explain a little bit here.  My son is quite intelligent.  Brilliant, even.  And his mother may be slightly biased.  Anyway, he is performing well above grade level in all subjects.  He writes very clever stories and builds incredible structures with his legos.  He regularly humors us with his creative stories and precocious vocabulary.

But he is a slob.  Disorganized.  Haphazard.  You get the picture.

I knew this was an issue.  I thought that I was doing well at regularly checking in with his teacher and making sure we were catching up on late assignments.   Obviously, my assumptions were erroneous.

So this morning, after dropping the other kids at school and humming the appropriate dirge for the situation, I made his favorite breakfast - egg, sausage and cheese burritos, accompanied by hot chocolate and orange juice. 

Are you thinking of words such as coddlingspoiling?

Once again, clearly you misunderstand me.  Think of Ben Linus treating Kate to an exquisite breakfast by the ocean shortly after capturing her and her friends.  Ben tells Kate that he wants her to have something nice to remember because the next 2 weeks are going to be very unpleasant.  Yeah, it was like that with my son.  I made it clear that today would not be fun. 

It will be a whip-cracking, homework-cranking day.  No TV, no computer, no legos, no toys at all until every last crumpled paper is finished.

Oh, no.  It will not be a fun day at all.

And once that is done, the hubs and I will have to come with some very strict criteria under which he operates from now on.  Because I assure you I will not be bailing him out in college.


  1. Jen, I sympathize with you on this situation. What is really frustrating is how these brilliant kids still do well on tests or quizzes when they have not done their homework but because they have not done the homework, they are failing at school. When kids are challenged with a project they are actually learning from doing, they are more likely to focus and get it done. I know that most kids don't "lose" or "misplace" an item they are really excited about like a new lego set that is challenging them or a new book they really wanted.

    Your son has different priorities and I love that. For familial harmony, perhaps next term he could be rewarded with a stay-at-home lego date with mom if all his homework is turned in without too much prodding from mom?

  2. Interesting approach, let us know how it turns out. I think especially bright kids just don't have room in their brains for tedious stuff like organizing. I'm a little appalled with the teacher for letting it get that bad without telling you.


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