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WTFriday: Summer Homework


We’re up against it now. My 11-year-old son, Aden, just started junior high last week. And like kids of all ages these days, he had a summer reading project to do. Two of them, actually. Oh, and a 22-page double-sided math packet.

Moms my age (and younger, I’m sure) will recall summers that were spent....summering. Doing not much of anything and really enjoying it. No more. First it was summer reading. Ok, they can read a book over the summer. Then it became two books, and this summer, they added this math packet, fully half of which is above my head, to say nothing of his.

What’s up for next summer? A science project for good measure?

I’ve had it with all the “extra” work. I might feel differently if my kid was an avid reader and a whiz at math. He is a beautiful, dear child, but he is neither of those things. It’s all I can do to get him through the regular school year. I made two mistakes: a) letting him pick out his own books at the library and b) believing him when he said he was reading them. I discovered about two weeks ago he has done nothing. Everything is due on Tuesday. We did the math packet together up to the point where neither of us understands it anymore.  And we are three quarters done with one book. When I say we, I mean I read it to him in bed at night. Yes, I read to an 11-year-old in bed. I tried insisting he read it himself, but the pace was akin to his digging to China with his fingernails. And the book we’re reading, which he chose himself? It’s set in the 1950s in the deep south. The cultural references and the twang and phrases of the characters, I’m pretty sure, makes this book a step above Latin to him.

So the question is: what do I do about the second book, which clearly is not going to be read?  I am sorely tempted to find the crib notes for the second book online, and let him read that. Is that so wrong?  And I’m really coming clean now: for a moment I did  consider just reading the darn book myself on my commute, and taking the (online) test for him. I know, that really IS wrong! But surely someone else has been similarly tempted?

Another dark thought: having his 16-year-old brother finish the math packet, since congruents and the X axis are still fresh in his mind. It’s multiple choice! Nobody would ever know who actually did the circling!


The bottom line is I’m not a teacher, or a child psychologist, and I can’t get him to do this work. Especially now since he is back at school and has regular homework to do on top of this. 

 Has anyone else simply not finished the summer reading? What happened?