If you’ve ever seen Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, then you’ll know that the after school adventures of a grade-schooler are a close comparison. But, unlike the exploits of Mr. Murray, what happens after school everyday isn’t funny.
It all starts when the girl gets home from Pre-K. Thankfully, the bus pulls right up to our garage door (it’s a short bus) and drops her off. At least I don’t have to stand out by the highway waiting for her. The first thing my daughter says to me each day is “Daddy, can I have some chocolate milk?” This is followed immediately by “Wanna watcha movie!!!”.
I have no problem with this routine. It keeps her happy and out of my hair so I can get dinner started. Dinner is a whole other adventure. Then it’s time to get the boy. His after school adventures are enough to keep the Duggars from pro-creating. It starts when he gets off the bus and skips across the highway into the van where I’m waiting for him.
This is where I realize I lack the skills to be an interrogator. Every day I try to pump him for information about how his school day went. And every day, he responds with “Good”. I try asking what he did that day. And every day, he responds with “It was good”. “What was good?”, I say. “What we did was good Daddy.” (sigh)
Open-ended questions do not work either. I’ve tried every possible form of open-endedry without results. “Tell me about your day son”. “It was good”. By this point, he’s gotten Better Than Ezra stuck in my head, so I let the questioning go and head back to the house.
By the time the boy gets home from school, the last thing he wants to do is homework. I can’t say that I blame him. He’s been at school all day, he’s hungry, and he hasn’t watched t.v. in almost nine hours. Poor kid. But, experience has taught me that if he doesn’t do his school work early in the evening, he will use it as a way to stay up an hour past his bedtime.
Homework is strong evidence in support of not having children. It’s painful. If you thought doing your homework was painful, wait until you have to watch other people do their homework. Remember those “group projects” in school? There was always that one kid that never helped out and wanted the group to do his work for him. That’s your kid.
Only now, instead of just sitting there wanting you to do the work, you also have to listen to whining about how hard everything is, how much homework is stupid, and how he wants some chocolate milk.
I was a little worried at the beginning of the school year when the boy’s teacher sent home her first edition of “First Grade News”. It stated that she would send home the answers to math homework in case we get stuck or to check our work. It made me wonder. How hard is 1st grade math, that parents are going to get stuck?
At first I thought maybe the American Math Program was finally going to catch up to the rest of the world. Then I saw how simple his math problems were. Then, I realized, she probably sends home the answers because a parent in the past was having trouble helping his child. ‘MERICA!!!
Having done a semester’s worth of math homework with the boy, I now realize why she sends the answers home. It’s not for the parents. She sends it home so your kid can do the work by himself and check his own answers while you do something really important…Like reading quality parenting advice.