Wish You Were Here: Whose Homework is It Anyway?

photo: Unsplash

Math. It was never one of my better subjects. Or science. You can add social studies to that list, along with learning to play the flute, failing miserably, and spending the better part of my sixth-grade year screeching out a cringy little homage to Hot Cross Buns.

I mostly hated school, learning and my band teacher and not because she made an example of me and my “not-so-hot”-she-was-definitelycross buns or because she seemed to derive some sadistic satisfaction from sucking her students’ souls out but because, like all of my other teachers, she gave homework.

I was never a fan — of homework, I mean. The math sheets, the memorizing of the multiplication tables, the feeling that no matter how hard I tried, I was never going to find the perimeter of something shaped like a pineapple or pick a hexagon out of a handbasket.

So I guess you could say eking out the notes to arguably the most redundant tune on earth, only added to my vexation and general lack of enthusiasm for band instruments-slash-songs about pastries.

I won’t get on some sort of tangent here about my stance on homework. I don’t have one, other than I didn’t enjoy it myself, but I will say the nut (or at least one nut) didn’t fall far from the tree and some questions are better left unasked.

Do you have homework? is one of them.

If you, like me, have the poor sense to ask this, I am confident you will undoubtedly be met with one of the following answers:

  1. Silence
  2. Silence
  3. Silence
  4. All of the Above

Do not be fooled. The act of inaction or commitment not to commit is merely an omission of the suspicion lingering in some far corner of your mind already that she is skilled (criminally) in her craft, and no matter how you phrase or rephrase the question, rest assured, she is in a relationship with her phone and not making eye contact with you, the parent, aka ‘killer of joy.’

This will not deter you however from trying to remember your password for Schoology, Powerschool or Amazon Prime so you can one-time purchase Pretty Woman and briefly regret not pursuing a life of… perms (but only if Richard Gere was involved).

Not to worry. This roughly two hours and five minutes will be but a brief break in the best-is-yet-to-come, featuring a lost Chromebook charger. No way to do homework now! Something called phone math. And the very sobering realization that it’s incredibly ambitious to attempt analyzing the motif of Because of Mr. Terupt when you haven’t actually, ya know, read it.

If someone could maybe just deliver a keg, preferably daily and possibly pro bono, it goes without saying you’d be doing humankind a solid service. No one should have to face fractions, decimals or percentages sober. Let’s face the facts here and our own tortured memories of learning state capitals, birds and flowers, and also which kids to sit diagonally in back of who might let us copy off their papers.

My senior year of high school, our science teacher assigned a diorama. I was barely passing, and my partner for the project, not unlike myself, had the motivation of a mosquito, which fittingly enough our final grade was based on. I’d like to take a moment here to personally thank my mother for not only doing all of the prep work and riveting research on the migration of the itsy-bitsy bloodsuckers but also for the years she spent at Parsons, preparing for the moment she would be faced with a Nike shoebox, some rubber bugs and a pleading case from her slacker daughter to “take this and do something with it” around midnight the night before.

We passed. With flying colors and some questioning looks from our teacher who I’m sure up until that point was moderately convinced we couldn’t spell science, let alone pull off something of this caliber. Let’s just say, my mom knows her way around a hot glue gun and those bad bugs, they were pretty smokin’ by the time everything was said and diorama-ed. The things we do — or read — for our children. Yes, because of you, Mr. Terupt, my head was definitely buzzing with my own migration of mosquitoes. Thank God I don’t own a glue gun. How’s that for a motif?

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.