Friday, February 5, 2010

The Homework Ogre

February 5, 2010

I totally felt like the Homework Ogre Mom last night. From a History Day project to a recreation of the Periodic Table to studying for a math test at a level I myself never even reached, the stress level was pretty high. My job, when due dates and procrastination levels collide, is to be the Homework Ogre, Task Master Extraordinaire. It's a little bit like trying to train Golden Retrievers to "Sit" or "Stay." It can be done, but dang, it's hard when there are squirells and sticks and other dogs to bark at.

Over the course of the very long evening, these are all of the not-quite-relevant-to-homework cries for help I heard from my three children:

"But I'm DONE!!" (Not even close.)

"I can't do it. The rest of my project is at Dad's." (We'll call him and ask him to bring it over.)

"I'll finish it tomorrow before school!" (You can't get out of bed on time; what makes you think you'll wake up early enough to finish a homework assignment?)

"I want a cookie." (Me too. Okay, we can have one while you're working.)

"But the show I want to watch is coming on soon!" (DVR.)

"I don't want to do my homework!" (Seriously? Shocker! How many people WANT to do their homework??)

"Can you just do this part?" (I am proud to say that yes, yes I CAN do that part of your homework. Will I? Now that's another question entirely. I already passed 5th grade, so I don't have to do 5th grade homework anymore. Your turn.)

"Why do I have to show my work?" (Because your teacher asked you to. Because your teacher wants to see your thought process, and he can't read your mind. Be glad he can't read your mind. I assure you, HE'S probably glad he can't read your mind. Just show your work.)

"This is dumb!" (Maybe. Sometimes homework is dumb, or too complicated, or too simplistic, or too time consuming. There are parts of my job that I don't like and think are dumb, too. Comes with the territory. Suck it up, Princess--or Prince, as the case may be.)

"I'm tired!" (I know. And soon, very soon, you'll be going to bed. Oh, believe me, you'll be going straight to bed. Just as soon as you finish this dumb project!)

"This will take FOREVER!" (Have we learned anything about time management yet? That perhaps your teacher gives you four weeks to work on a project because he/she KNOWS it will take a long time, so you're supposed to work on it little by little, piece by piece, so that you're not overwhelmed with trying to do everything the night before it's due? No, you didn't learn that yet? Then yes, it IS going to take forever. Better get rolling now.)

"I need a drink of water/another cookie/to go to the bathroom/to take a break, etc...." (Not yet you don't. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.)

To other siblings in the room: "Quit throwing things at me/hitting me/looking at me/talking to me/annoying me...." (Really? I've got to separate you into different rooms to do your homework? What are you, Golden Retrievers?)

Finally, after what seemed a very long night, math was completed (work shown), we had a reasonable facsimile of a Periodic Table, and a respectable amount of work to check in with the History Day coach. Everyone turned in for the night, and the Ogre and her Golden Retrievers, spent from the previous hours' game of tug 'o war, all slept quite soundly.


  1. Yes. The exact sounds can be heard at my house on a nightly basis. Sooo exhausting. I love having a daughter at college. I do not know on a daily basis if she doing her homework or not. We have a don't ask, don't tell policy. And it is lovely.

  2. I feel your pain! I do this nightly as well! They try to come up with every excuse in the book as to why they can't do their homework! It's as stressful for the parents as it is for the kids! Hang in there!

  3. I so dread the day of REAL homework. Not only am I worried I will have no idea how to help them in math, I am a terrible procrastinator myself. Yikes!

  4. Haha I love this update. Sounds like an interesting and eventful night. Your kids are lucky to have a homework ogre, helping them along.

  5. That was great and very true, you should write a book with this title. I know I would buy it for the humor and to use some of your lines.