Monday, November 30, 2009

Why, in my day

I don't remember getting much help from my parents when it came to doing homework. I remember asking my father for some math help once. It was Algebra, which I found very hard. He put down his newspaper for a minute and said something like, "I had to do that once and I passed. I'm done. Now it's your turn," and back to the paper. I don't recall even getting rides to the library when I was a kid and needed to find books for school. I say this because I am astonished how often I see kids come up to the desk with their parent to ask for reference help. Usually, the parent will encourage the kid to talk. The kid stands there, like a monument to noncooperation. After a few prods, the humiliated parent will talk about what the child needs for his/her paper. Sometimes, they cut out the middleman altogether, and the parent and I do the research without the pesky kid interfering. I often hear about how many activities the kid has and how it's impossible to do all that and get the homework done. I'm no Oprah, but my guess is that the kid needs to shed some extracurricular engagements. It's not that I had such a crappy childhood and am just feeling all resentful; I emerged reasonably unscarred and I never lacked for clothing, shelter, bus fare, and bland but relatively wholesome food. I even had extracurricular activities including being the absolute worst baseball player on several little league teams, in spite of the fact that I was a switch hitter. (Or as my ever-supportive, newspaper-reading dad liked to put it, I had the ability to strike out from either side of the plate.) But sheesh. Unless you plan to accompany the kid to college and do their library chores, I don't think you're doing them a favor by doing their high school homework. Hey! I got it! Maybe mom should take up the flute and stand in for the kid in band while the kid is at the library! That makes way more sense to me.


shushie said...

This makes me crazy. My branch is surrounded by mid to upper class 'burbians and I am astonished by how many parents come in WITHOUT THEIR KIDS to get homework/paper/project materials. They use the same excuse "Sally is so busy with violin, dance, cheerleading, and taiquando that I'm just picking up the books for her. Now, where is your section on primary civil war sources?"

Dances With Keyboards said...

Wait - there's more. What about the college student who is in ANOTHER STATE whose mom actually does research for him? Why? because "he just doesn't have time with work and all his other activities." Mom has no idea what the kid is really supposed to do, but she gathered information as best she could and mailed or faxed it all to junior. I'm still trying to close my mouth, and that was about 8 years ago.