The luxury of teaching at a K-8 is having my youngest come to my room for last minute homework help and completion (if he forgets). Unfortunately, I have harbored and cultivated a procrastinator. Now that my son is in algebra (he’s 2 years ahead in math) and is in 7th grade, I have decided this year and tonight (Tuesday of Week 2 of a new school year) that this procrastination thing has got to stop. So…
I fed him lots for dinner (he just made varsity soccer and he is starting to develop his teenage endless hunger);
I made him a glass of ice water and gave him a Tylenol (his head hurts from being out in 95 degree weather for 3 hours after school);
I suggested he come and sit on my big bed and work while I did (I can help him a little until his big brother gets home);
and (of course) I threatened him (his father said he’d pull him out of soccer if he procrastinated and completed it the day it was due in my room).
Here are the excuses:
“But my head hurts” (I know, says I, you’ve been running around after school playing soccer in Florida. You’re dehydrated)’
“Maybe, since it doesn’t count, I should just go back to 7th grade math, because I’m way ahead (If you are struggling and don’t get it, says I, but not if you just don’t want to do the problems and practice everyday because you’ll have that in honors 7th grade math, too);
“Yeah, but my head hurts and you don’t care” (I do, says I, but you still have to do your homework)’
and (of course, the argument about to ensue):
“I’m doing it…why are you telling me to do it” (What problem are you on? asks I, thinking surely we’re past the first 10).
Here I sit, completing my SOL for next Tuesday, while my brilliant, but procrastinating, son chants while working on the third problem, “Why don’t you love me, Mother of Mine. Why don’t you care about me? My head really hurts.” And, finally, the ultimatum: “I’m going to the dining room table to do my homework because you don’t care.” He’s going to the dining room table that is littered with pieces of our lives (see “Bacon Thief”). And he’s back again, slamming his three-ring binder on my bed. And he’s crying. And he’s sad and frustrated.
It all makes me want to go to bed and procrastinate the 25 problems for algebra and the essay for civics until tomorrow.