Homework Revision

I forgot something about Back to School. I forgot how much I hate homework. That is really sad, too, because I am not even the one doing it. I just have to help a little bit.

My kids are doing it. They are doing LOTS of it. And they don't even have the good sense to complain.

This is an area where they could get plenty of sympathy from me. I think it is ridiculous to expect a kid to wake up before six a.m., endure a loud and crowded bus ride, spend eight hours at school, log in a few hours at a sport or a part-time job, and then roll on home around 8 p.m. for a couple more hours of homework.

Last night from 8-10 p.m., my middle schooler was writing a two-page essay (typed in Times New Roman and double-spaced please) comparing herself to "two or three" Olympic athletes she had never heard of. She had to choose from a list of 30 athletes who have overcome special obstacles and compare herself to them as it relates to her eighth grade school year. Since she had no idea who any of them were, or what they had overcome, she had to look them all up on the internet and then choose a couple she could relate to.


O.K. Let's re-do that assignment so that makes a little more sense.

First of all. Hand write the assignment. That way you can work on it in the car on the way to and from your sporting activity. You won't have to fight over the computer later with your sister, who is studying for a college test with an on-line study guide.

Writing the assignment in long hand would be a great opportunity to work on your handwriting and spelling skills, both of which have been ruined by the invention of the word processor and spell check.

Now. Let's limit ourselves to one athlete. The goal is to organize our thoughts. I don't see how complicating the theme is going to help.

And finally, go ahead and pick an athlete from the current Olympic games. Plenty of them have overcome obstacles that you might actually be able to relate to.

Like having a father for a coach (Nastia Lieuken), being teased as a child (Michael Phelps), being short (Shawn Johnson) or being injured and unable to play in The Big Game (Paul and Morgan Hamm).

There you go. Now you have an assignment you can complete in an hour instead of two. You will have time to do your 10 assigned math problems, instead of working on them at breakfast when you should be eating your Toaster Strudel.

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