February 15, 2007 at 1:00 pm 11 comments

At recent parent/teacher conferences for our older son, we heard things like this:
“a really nice kid”
“a pleasure to have in class”
“never disruptive”
“has natural aptitude”
“so much potential”
“participates in discussions”
“catches on quickly”
“scores well on tests”
“bright, bright boy”

But every one of the teachers also said things like this:

“doesn’t do his homework”
“highly disorganized”
“turns in assignments late, if at all”
“skips over preliminary work”
“often unprepared”

I’ve got to tell you, it’s frustrating. My boy has a real aversion to homework, and an overwhelming capacity for denial about its importance. Once he gets to college, there won’t be as much of a “homework” issue. He’ll be able to go to class, read the texts, absorb the material, and take the tests. Of course there will still be papers to write and so forth, but, on the whole, there will be less of what he considers “busy work.” However, if he doesn’t start doing a better job on his homework now, he’s not going to have the grades to get into the college of his choice.

Naturally, he isn’t receptive to hearing any of this. Kids!


Entry filed under: behavior, irony, kids, learn, life.

From the heart As himself

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. travelingmedicineshow  |  February 15, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Well I despised middle school high school like poison, was bored and did poorly. For some personalities, it is just pure tedium. When I got to college, it was a whole different ball game. I went to a very small school with a real commitment to liberal arts. You choose your course of study, the professors treat you like adults. I flourished in this atmosphere and had a wonderful experience. So fret not. It’s not the boy. It’s the school.

  • 2. icedmocha  |  February 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks. I know he will like college better. Being treated like an adult will suit him just fine.

  • 3. fracas  |  February 15, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Maybe the work he puts off is boring?

    My son hates some things with a passion and doesn’t want to do them, but his teacher this year makes so much of what could be boring, not, that he seems to actually enjoy spending time on assignments.

    Every teacher doesn’t understand this. Make the work interesting and they will do it. Aren’t we the same at work? Don’t we relish a new and exciting project more than the paperwork behind it? No matter the job, everyone always grunts and groans about the boring and tedious parts of it. Kids are no different. A good teacher understands this and uses their own creativity to make the work interesting.

    So, don’t worry so much about your son. Sounds like he needs more stimulation and options for creativity and using his brightness than he’s getting.

  • 4. stjarna67  |  February 15, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Sounds like my illustrious high school academic career…MTV my sophomore year ate up most of my time and interests….I didn’t really care about school until my junior year…and still graduated in the top 1/3. I also managed to get a college degree, too.

    Just make sure they get the basics about setting some basic ideas for a study schedule…and filter out the major distractions and things will work out ok….

    Oh, I wouldn’t try telling them that all of the stuff they study now will come in handy later…..normalize some of the feelings that a great deal of high school is silly…but that hard work CAN pay off…..or at least increase your chances of being at the right spot at the right time….

  • 5. dailypiglet  |  February 16, 2007 at 12:52 am

    you know i’ve wondered why teachers are all so politically correct these days. it seems they are afraid to put things in writing or say anything derogatory about the kids.

    back in my day, teachers paddled and had no problems telling the real truth.

    this has bothered me quite a bit since my daughter started school. i want the truth, the dr. phil truth.

    and how old is your son? cos my daughter is 12, and ditto on all of the above.

  • 6. Suresh Gundappa  |  February 16, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Thank god he hates Home work! He is going to be Genius! School hardly teaches kids anything nowadays!

    Keep him happy and grounded!

  • 7. icedmocha  |  February 16, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    fracas – yeah, he definitely considers it boring. But real life doesn’t let you skip what bores you, so he better learn to cope with it. LOL

    stjarna – you’ve given me hope that he’ll start caring next year.

    dailypiglet – He’s almost 16 – 10th grade this year.

    Suresh – Thanks. I’ll do my best.

  • 8. gingermiss  |  February 16, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    I know that students need to complete assigned work rather than pick and choose what they want to do, but a lot of people here have already touched on an important point: a lot of schools suck these days. My two sisters are incredibly bright and enjoy learning, but we moved to an area with a horrible high school and they both dropped out. I know it was horrible because I actually did go and finish, but by the time I was graduating I was skipping as many classes as I could.

    Although this is true, it’s still important for him to do his homework, obviously. My recommendation would be offering some kind of reward for it at the end of the week, depending upon how much he does. That leaves a lot of it still in his hands. I’m not sure what your son enjoys, so that’s as far as my recommendations go!

  • 9. Nicola  |  February 17, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Is there a subject / headset divide between the good comments and the bad comments?

    It reads a lot like my kids reports did the subjects that they enjoyed and had some talent for they used to get good comments and results.

    Those they didn’t enjoy or found boring – they switched off. This was particularly noticable in my son who is dyslexic. He ws good at his practical subjects and excellent at sports – and was good at applied subjects – but anything essay driven or that invovled lots of writing he loathed, hated and in some circumstances refused to do.

    My daughter was the same with art (she is a scientist) and couldnt see the point of art, history or foreign languages at all. This didnt worry me at all but the school got on her and my back about it.

    She actually took matters into her own hands and got straight A’s in her chosen subjects and told them the others were *throw aways* !

  • 10. Oscarandre  |  February 18, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    The research on homework is fairly unambiguous in elementary school. Unless it is of a particularly high standard (and most is, as your son realises, simply busy work designed to meet the expectation of parents) then its educational value is negligible. In fact, by taking up valuable leisure time, it also breeds a negative attitude to learning itself. Give your son lots of interesting experiences and, most improtant of all, talk to him about them. He’ll be fine (and so will you).

  • 11. icedmocha  |  February 21, 2007 at 9:38 am

    gingermiss & oscarandre – thanks for the suggestions.

    Nicola – the good/bad comments are pretty universal, and the difference in grades correlates strongly to the amount of, and weight given to, homework. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if he accepts the reality of homework at some point before high school is over.


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