It was about ten o’clock last night that I realized I may have been too moderate about the viral no homework debate. To begin, I have long watched my teenaged children struggle with mountains of homework for hours. “Are you done with your homework?” has actually become a depressing refrain around here.
But I began to feel real sympathy with the storming anti homework faction when I woke up this morning at five a.m. and confronted a mountain of dishes. I went to get the young adult (high school junior) whose name was on the dish washing schedule for last night, to drag her out of bed early to do the dishes , as is my usual practice, and she mumbled “homework — too much — couldn’t do dishes — AP classes too hard. Got Brother to promise to do it.”
Exasperated, I asked her: “You can’t just give your dishes to Brother. Anyway, what are you doing sleeping with the phone again! Didn’t your dad take up your phone at 10:30 like we agreed?” This was in order to prevent her from staying up all night texting people and, consequently, sleeping all afternoon.
“No, couldn’t turn in phone. Using phone for homework. Let sleep. Brother will do dishes.”
I stomped out of the room. She had me beat, I saw. “Brother is out of his mind to promise to help you with the dishes,” I thought. And I knew that even if it could be right to drag him out of bed, he wasn’t going to be able to do these dishes, because just one minute before I’d gotten him extra early up to finish the homework he hadn’t finished last night.
These kids are averaging two hours of homework a day with short bursts of up to four hours. Let’s face it, it’s almost like they don’t have time for household chores. We barely have time to make dinner and eat it.
I slunk off down the stairs. I did the dishes myself. I began to consider revising my vote on the viral no homework debate to the “no homework” side.