Monday, August 20, 2007

Homework a-go-go

I am already tired of school, and it is only Day 6. Or Day 5, if you take the two minimum days and put them together as one day.

OK, it isn’t the school part I’m tired of, really. It’s homework. And this would be the first afternoon we actually had homework. So I’m tired of it way before the usual curve of a few weeks.

I have been overseeing the homework for Danger Mouse and Eldest for the last two three hours. Their teachers said, and I quote, “This should take no more than twenty minutes.”

Eldest took over an hour to do half of what was supposed to take twenty minutes. She didn’t need to, she just did. And Danger Mouse…well, let’s just say I won’t be entirely surprised if one of these days some Learned Person or other walks up and says, “Hey, did you know that kid has a terrible case of ADD?”

To which I will probably respond: “{long rambling story that somehow involves llamas and ends up with the phrase, ‘oh, but, we were talking about Danger Mouse, right?’}”

The girl comes by the distractibility thing honestly, that’s all I can say about that. And last year, well, they got a kind of free pass. I was working, they (allegedly) did their homework at daycare, and really I didn’t have to deal with their shortcomings on stick-to-it-ness.

I also never made them make their beds or pick up their toys daily or any of that stuff. I just pretended that whole side of the house didn’t exist, unless we were having company over.

But this year, I said to myself, said I, “Self! This year we will not have any of that ‘raised by wolves’ thing around here! No! The children shall come home from school, sit down at their Homework Desks, and do their homework. And I shall supervise said homework, and growl warningly at them when they start daydreaming off AND BEHOLD!! My Denizens will snap out of it and shall be the marvel of the educational system!!”


There are reasons (many, many reasons) (including ‘CPS’ and ‘fear of restraining order’) I don’t home school, and one of them is that I am…well, let’s just call it ‘attention challenged’, shall we? I will watch the news specifically for the weather report. And then, when the weather segment is actually on, my attention wanders and suddenly they’re tossing back out to somebody in the field and I’m left going, “Wait! I wanted to hear that part! Come back, Weather Man! COME BAAAAACK!!!”

Thank Dog for the Weather Channel online. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Attention-deprivation, not home schooling. Right.

SO ANYWAY. Here I am, helping my children with their homework. And by ‘helping’, I mean ‘alternating wandering away to do something else with being confused by 2nd grade homework’.

And the ever-helpful, “Oh for carp’s sake, how in the world do you get ‘eleven’ there?! In what reality is 9 + 4 = 11?!”


A few minutes ago, as she began sinking down into her chair and reaching out her foot to start pushing the pedal on my spinning wheel, I barked out, “Danger Mouse! Homework! NOW!”

So now she is crying.


We’re going on three hours, for the ‘twenty minutes’ of homework. Eldest has been done for a while now…Danger Mouse still struggles on. It isn’t that she can’t do it, or that the questions are hard - it’s entirely that her mind keeps wandering. Every time I look over, she’s sitting there with her pencil idle in her hand, staring off into the distance.

Ya know. Thinking.

It’s very hard for me to scold her about this, mostly because I am too busy staring off into the distance – ya know, thinking.

I’m not sure how a highly distractible parent is going to micromanage highly distractible children. It’s worse than the blind leading the blind. The blind at least will feel along a wall and keep moving. The distractible forget where they were going, end up at the ice cream store and then find themselves going, “Uuuuuuh, oh yeah…” a lot when confronted by Authority Figures, who cannot for the life of them understand how a grown woman could possibly have forgotten about {Back to School night, office paperwork, some form or other about booster club, to send fifteen pink buttons to school by Tuesday}.

Anyway, I gotta go.

The weather’s coming on soon.


Kris said...

I so feel your pain. I was diagnosed ADD as a kid. My parents were given the choice between meds and behavior modification and they chose the latter. To this day I still struggle with the whole staying on track thingy.

For me, long term projects are the bain of my existance. Go figure.

RM Kahn said...

Peanut has distractability issues at times.. especially when it comes to writing. Give him math and science and he jumps in with glee. But ask him to write a sentence or two and his mind will wander down the yellow brick road and since I am home it is my job to yank him back from the road and back to the task at hand. We've rotated thru various parts of the house to find an area that offers the least amount of outside distractions. I understand your frustration when a 20 minute project has gone well past 3 hours.

Anonymous said...

My 7yo has ADD, and I find that using a timer seems to really help him stay on track. Set a reasonable time limit, say 30 mins, and put the oven timer on. If Danger Mouse finishes her homework before the buzzer goes off, she gets a treat.
Also, check out Chore Wars ( We have set up the family as a clan in there, and both the boys have 'Adventures' specific to their age and abilities. 7yo has jobs like 'Doing Homework' and 'Making the Bed', and 4yo has jobs like 'Getting Dressed Without Help' and 'Picking Up the Toys'. They earn experience points and gold for doing their jobs. At the end of the day we do a recap of how they went, and they get to "have an adventure". They get a real kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. I am NOT looking forward to starting school this year...homeschooling again, too (blech!). I have a feeling similar scenes will be taking place in my home on a daily - nay, hourly! - basis. Yippee. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

And here I thought I was the only one who didn't homeschool because of that whole CPS thing. Someone would be dead by the end of the first, a kid, who knows, but SOMEONE would be dead.

And that "should take no more than 20 minutes" thing? Bull. It always takes more time, it's not your kids.