Monday, March 8, 2010

Just A Little Homework . . .


The little clock in the bottom-right corner of my monitor tells me it's 7:48 AM. Eastern. Which means I have only 12 minutes to finish this post and hit Publish.

My homework. Assigned by Professor Shelle. She even sent me an email reminder last night at some point during that monotonous Oscar brouhaha. I had to read my invite from Google Calendar just to remind myself of the topic. Something about who helps the kids with the homework.

Not me.

For, though very few people would know this unless I told them, I am a chronic procrastinator. In fact, you probably wouldn't even know that I sat here at . . . 7:52 . . . piecing this masterpiece together if I hadn't brought it up.

My excuse? I work well under pressure. Some of my best material - for my blog, for my university classes, for my grandmother's funeral - were all crafted under the weight of an impending deadline, often only a few short moments over the horizon of time.

So I'm not the best example. Even though it works for me in most cases.

When the kids get home, it is my wife who gathers them 'round her desk, makes them drag out their assignment notebooks, tallies up the list of requirements for the evening, and then ensures that they take their place at the table and crack their books. I am there for support, for when the algebra or lit assignment gets overwhelming. I read the books they are reading and do my part to make sure they are getting the material and that they are ready for whatever test or paper is coming due.

But the whip-cracking is all my wife.

7:57 . . .

[twiddling thumbs]

So. There ya go. Homework sucks. But my kids get it done thanks to my diligent and organized wife.

Me? I need coffee . . .


Anonymous said...

Whew! Just in time . . .

Here's the deal: While I may be a procrastinator, I believe in getting the work done, and doing it well. For me, that seems to come easy.

And I recognize that my own way of dealing with deadlines is not the most effective. Which is something I'm working on. A few weeks ago, I had a big paper due. Had to submit it by midnight. I started writing it at about 8:00. It was all there, in my head, for days. I just hadn't set down to hammer it out. And, wouldn't you know it, my son noticed me hunkered down over my laptop, books sprawled around me, and gave me no small amount of shit.

I am not the very major model of an effective doer of homework.

My wife, however, is very task oriented. She likes the routine that is the after-school ritual in our home. She knows what assignments are due and keeps them at the front of our kids' attention. With the way teachers post stuff online these days, and with the resources schools provide, parents are more in the loop than ever. My parents never knew how, or what, I was doing in school until the report card came home. Not the case these days. So kids are literally without an excuse when it comes to homework. She keeps them on task, sometimes gently, other times with a stern hand. But the work gets done thanks to her diligent attention to detail.

Thank Zeus she doesn't know my schedule . . .

MommyLovesStilettos said...

I procrastinate, but it always gets done. ALWAYS. I just do my best work under pressure and always have. It works for me though.

Anonymous said...

I have all the math and history homework. I never figured why folks (the bride) have problems with history, I mean come on IT ALREADY HAPPENED, it ain't gonna change. Well I guess in government schools it changes pretty regular but the actual history doesn't. She handles the rest of the home work.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Tysdaddy--I don't know if you will understand this... but you have me in heart attack mode when you play around with time!!! Mr. Procrastinator!!! :)

I know each and every time you have it in, on time, but I always think, "what if?" what if he has a personal family issue and can't write it? what if his car wouldn't start and he's wandering around town with now computer and no money and no help!

ANd then I'm worried for your safety.

And then you post. And all is well ;)


Okay... so my kids aren't old enough that their homework requires much help... but I'm going to be the one to do it.

My husband and I are BOTH procrastinators but I have the patience to sit and walk through homework and he doesn't. Plus I KNOW more. ;)

Thanks for getting the post in!!!

Anonymous said...


One thing I didn't put in my post, because there wasn't enough time, was that this post almost didn't happen. I KNOW I set my clock last night, but it didn't go off this morning. That, or I turned it off in some foggy stupor. But I woke up very late and ended up driving the kids to school.

So, yeah. That time crunch? Exacerbated by my own negligence.

Story of my life . . .

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Homework is currently the bane of my existence and is causing severe sleep deprivation in this household. I am usually the whip cracker and editor around here. In fact, I was editing a paper at 4:45 this morning. The husband will do it when he is around, but that isn't all that often.

Unlike me, the oldest doesn't procrastinate much. However, the fact that so much homework is done on the computer allows for a lot of distractions, notably all the other students on Skype. She has been averaging 4-5 hrs of sleep a night (hence I have too) for the past several months for HIGH SCHOOL. That's ridiculous! We have made some significant changes for next year, but that was a major battle.

The other one has homework that is far too easy for him, but getting him to sit down and do it requires an act of Congress.

Summer can't come too soon! Hopefully I will still be sane and still have hair by then.

On the topic of procrastination, I have used all those persuasive arguments myself (i.e. work better under pressure, have it all in the head beforehand, etc). However, I realized that there are a lot of things in life that work better with advance preparation. I have gotten better in this area, but I still fall off the wagon sometimes.

April said...

Helping my son with his homework has always been a tough issue for me. See, I have no patience when it comes to helping him, which I'm aware is my problem and I'm really trying to work on it.

I get so frustrated when he's learned how to do something that day in school, then comes home and acts like it's brand new and conveniently "forgot" how to do it. I get so frustrated when he's too lazy to do it so he'll just write random shit down. I get so frustrated when he's not understanding something that he just did correctly on the previous question with no problem. I get so frustrated when he doesn't want to make an educated guess or even bother to try, rather expects me to do it for him. And by frustrated I mean that I would be considered a horrible mom if someone were watching.

However, I have talked to some people and have found ways to not be so frustrated. I believe most of this frustration stems from the fact that my dad never helped me with my homework. I never really needed him to because things just came easily to me. My son is not like I was at all. Not that I expect him to be, but it's hard for me to understand his thinking or lack of interest.

Most days I'm OK to help him. On the days when I feel like I can't control my frustration, I ask my boyfriend to help him. I've also sat my son down and explained that I'm very sorry for being frustrated with him during homework time. I told him that I'm making efforts to control my frustration, but the one thing he can to to help is to actually DO the homework first. Make a serious attempt rather than a lazy attempt. When he's all done, I go over the homework. If something is wrong, then I help him. This seems to work the best.

Now homework isn't a miserable experience for either of us. =)

April said...

Oh, I forgot to add that I reward him with praise for correct answers. That was something I wasn't doing. I was only pointing out the answers he got wrong, making him feel like he couldn't do anything right. It's horrible, I know.

But like I said, I'm really working on it. The first step was realizing that I have a problem, the second was realizing that my frustrations weren't making the situation any easier.

Please don't call Social Services on me. =)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Tysdaddy u KNOW I just love that u write over on this blog!

Anon-girl...I am not looking forward to teenager homework...heck I even don't want middle school homework!

April- I think we have all been that way, even those of us that claim patience can probably relate a story or two about we lost it during "homework" time.

I think the best question is to ask oneself is "how does this child learn"? My kid needs to apply it to real life? He's a whiz at math because it's right or wrong.

When he studies history we have the luxury of flying to go visit or I rent a movie that involves what he's studying...

Most of it right now, he does himself and I check his work. He can't play until it's done so he's motivated to complete it.

Not sure how that will work one he's into more difficult homework.

I loved both of your comments btw!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, Racer is too young to be receiving homework. I am not looking forward to the day that he starts bringing some home. Fortunately for me, he goes to a fully French school. I know some French but not enough to help with homework. My husband (who's first language is French) will be on Homework duty with Racer and with Diva when she goes to school.

As for myself ... when I reached High School, I rarely did my homework on time, if at all. I'm not proud of that and despite never wanting to experience High School again, I WOULD change that part. I wish I had concentrated more on my school work and less on trying to fit in and impressed the boys.

Now in life? I generally get my stuff done as soon as possible. Some days though I prefer to wait longer but always get the stuff done that I need to get done.

CaJoh said...

I was always the procrastinator myself. I still do procrastinate, but not as much anymore. I realize that some things do take time and if I put a little more effort into it I will get a good result.

My parents never helped me with my homework. Of course, I do not think I have as much as kids do now a days. My wife's kids were doing their homework on their own when I met my wife so the only homework help is for our grandson whenever we are watching him during the week.

Great example of procrastination. Looks like you got some people worried.

Margaret said...

I am the same way when it comes to doing things. I find that if I am not working under pressure than I just can't focus. This is why I wanted to work in the ER because then I would always be busy and I could work under pressure.

Anjeny said...

Oh April..I so can relate to you. I have two sons in Elementary, one of them is just like your son you described..he learned the stuff in school and came home, gave me blank stare when I asked him how he's suppose to do his homework. Really frustrating...and plus the fact that he's so energetic, he wants to be outside playing and then we usually ended up, I'm frustrated beyond reason and he's bawling his eyeballs out because he thinks I'm making him work on a school work that he's never set eyes on. Then my other son, he's smart, know the shit inside and out but it takes him practically hours to get one stupis homework sheet done. I see why his teacher is so frustrated with him too.

So for homework...I am the one who helps the kids with theirs but honest to Pete, it is totally a pain in the butt to get my kids to do homework. I don't have too much problem with my girls, but the boys, I seriously have to stem the urge to strangle someone.

Anjeny said...'ve done a pretty good job on the post for a procrastinator. I too have to get one of those email reminders from Shelle because like you, I procrastinate too and more often than not, I do work better under pressure too.

Shelle..I LOL(ed)at you know more comment. When my hub was in college, I did most of his homework, math, reading and science. His reason for me doing his homework (he claimed) was I was always better at that crap than he was..(yeah whatev!! LOL).

I once had a teacher in HS and one in college who never assigned homeworks and when asked they both said that teachers who had students do homeworks are lazy know sometimes I wonder..eheh.

Chief said...

Dude, at least you read the books they read! you are da bomb

I used to not procrastinate until I decided it would be fun to over schedule my life... now everything is last minute

like my post for RWVM tomorrow ~wink

Anonymous said...


I do NOT suggest waiting until 7:45 in the morning to write your post. It sucks. And Shelle will have a conniption . . .


As for reading the books with my kids, this is mostly with my teenager, who loves reading but sometimes struggles with grasping the bigger picture. Plus, much of what he's reading for Honors English is stuff I've never read, or read a really long time ago. It's fun . . .

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Double comments!

This should boost my stats . . .

SheSaid/HeSaid said...

Do me a favor - never introduce yourself to my son! He's 13 and lives in the state of Procrastination - much to my frustration. I am a little more task-oriented - so needless to say my son and I don't see eye-to-eye. Add to that . . . I am the homework overseer, sort of. I no longer check his homework - I trust that he spends those hours in his room actually accomplishing something worthwhile. Plus, he knows if I catch him lying about his homework his butt is in a sling! Honestly, am very thankful that he can handle his homework - anyone looked at 8th grade advanced math lately? I swear it is in a foreign language!

My 9 year old daughter is the exact opposite - so darn self-driven she puts me to shame.

So, there is one thing that I do procrastinate about - HOUSEWORK! When my parents are due to arrive, I can clean 1800 sq ft in record time!

BTW - good for you for keeping up on the kids reading - kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

And what's the deal with no one catching, or at least mentioning, the Mr. Ratburn tie-in.

Doesn't ANYONE remember Mr. Ratburn's famous Homework song?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Mr. Ratburn Homework song from Arthur is the theme song at my daughter's overachieving Magnet HS. It's a little too close to the truth.

April said...

Shelle: I've tried using mnemonic devices, flash cards, repetition, making it fun and other techniques. I can't quite pin what works best down. I've asked a few of his teachers and they said he just needs smaller group settings or one on one and he needs to do the material more to remember it and be better at it.

So, I print up math sheets I find on the internet and I ask his teachers for worksheets and other material I can give him at home.

The teacher this year is wonderful. He gave me so much material to have Ethan work on at home, that's helped so much. He even raised 3 of his grades this past semester! (first time ever he got an A in language arts!) I don't make him do a bunch of extra work because I don't want him to feel like he's being punished. I give him one sheet a night, which I've explained is to help him not to punish him. Seeing the reward of better grades helped him see that the extra sheets did help.

I think the problem is interest. He just has no interest in learning. Hopefully that will change.

Thanks for your comment!

Another Suburban Mom said...

April: Email me off line, I have some suggestions for you to help with your guy from the mom of a reluctant student.

We taught DB not to procrastinate by really riding his ass on his 1st couple of school projects to beat the deadline. When he did, we would make a big deal out of letting him have extra tv or computer time or taking him to do something fun.

Hubman and I would be sure to ask him if he thought he was having more fun with us hanging out than his friends were rushing and sweating the assignment they procrastinated.

Amazingly this worked after 2 or 3 times.

Just Jules said...

I am really antsy and impatient about getting homework done. I have two kids who need absolutely no help - except getting going. and another who needs to be drug- heels in worse then a donkey.. yeah. I hate homework.


I am trying to do my homework but it is very difficult to do it when i have absolutely no desire for this kind of science. Im sure im going to get some rude comments telling me that i should do my own work, and i should.


I am a student but i dropped out a very long time ago and it was a very stupid decision on my part. but now i am doing adult grad and will be going to university in september so please just help be get through this little tinsie winsie assignment..