Yep, last night's homework was not representative of my career high in parenting.
"Just do it," I said, because we hadtohadtohadto go get the dog before 7pm and we had pizza dough but no calzones yet and I was hungry, darn it! And so after prevaricating over what picture to put on the "Book Jacket" he was designing for the third Ga'hoole book, he managed to sit quietly and write the little summary piece in record time, and then we ran out the door to get the dog.
When we got home we ate and then finished the math work he didn't finish in school; in the middle of it I saw him gain that "I am toast" glazed look that signals the end of any useful instruction or production.
And then I checked the homework sheet.
Was his summary word for word off the back of the actual book jacket? Er, yes. Yes it was.
Okay, he's eight years old, they don't even grade in his class except for spelling and math quizzes. But it's still cheating, still unacceptable, still had to be erased. And then ensued about twenty minutes of "But it's hard! I don't know what to say! I don't know what to do!" and, my personal favorite, "Writing is evil!"
After a while he finally got out five sentences along the lines of, "The main character is named Soren. The other main character is named Gilfie..." By this time, it was after 8:30pm and bedtime loomed, and I was happy some words he hadn't copied were on his paper.
I e-mailed the teacher. "Yes," she replied, and here I paraphrase, "he's really having a hard time staying focused in school."
Aaargh! Grumble at public school system. Grumble more at standardized tests that take all the joy out of learning. Grumble at being stuck at work when my boy needs me. Feel helpless much?
Part 2: Why my boy rocks my world: soon to follow.