Monday, May 9, 2016

This is what I'm dealing with.

 Here is a note I wrote to my children one morning when I left for work before they woke. 

I was letting Coen know that he had his math homework to do--a computer program called ALEKS.  Sometimes he does it right when he gets home, to get it over with. Sometimes he likes to wait and do it in the kitchen amid the smells of my cooking, talking to me between problems. 

He doesn't love doing it, but he takes responsibility for it.  Sometimes I think he does it just to please me....

Now, when he was in first grade, he had math worksheets he had to bring home and do occasionally.  I would sit with him and often he would cry in frustration and I would do my best to help, counting on my fingers beneath the table.

Once, on a particularly frustrating night of homework doing, Tad took Coen out behind the garage with his worksheets and a pack of matches and together they burned it. I imagine Coen smiling with glee like a maniac and Tad giving him a conspirator's smile, his eyes sparkling.  The homework going up in smoke, ember and flame in the dark alleyway.  A father/son act of defiance.

Coen was bursting to tell me when he came in. 

"You BURNED it?!" I asked incredulously.  Then to Tad, "How is this HELPING?"

So here, next to my note is the one Tad wrote. Another act of defiance. 

So there we are. Me, helping Coen with homework, making sure he does it.  Tad telling Coen it isn't necessary.  And somehow we make it work.  I hope he's learning to work with his community and question authority all at once. 

But you see..this is what I'm dealing with...a note next to mine, poking fun of the system I'm trying to figure how to help my kid into...  nighttime sky and secret fractions into ashes, sparking into the night. 

Ah well...what an interesting world my children are growing up in....

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful celebration of both ends of the "homework" spectrum. I recall when Pat Gordon and Dave Leonard would throw my books and homework on top of a metal canopy that hung over Ma's Restaurant on 35th Street, around the corner from MUHS. They'd boost me up to the canopy and then run off! I think my homework is still up there. But, as your story suggests rather brilliantly, we still manage to learn our lessons and come away from our school days with the knowledge we need to face our demons and the world in which we live. Aint life a hoot??!! With love and hugs....