Some people have asked me what it is like doing homework with 4 kids (we have 5 kids, but “only” 4 are in school). I decided to do a running blog to give you a taste of what my wife and/or I deal with on a daily basis.
3:48pm My 4 kids who are in school begin doing their homework.
3:49 Noelle (10-years-old) tells me that she accidentally left her homework at school. I sigh.
3:50 Matthew (7-years-old) just broke his pencil. He leaves the table to find another pencil or find a pencil sharpener. I sigh again.
3:51 Matthew returns with a different pencil. I am joyous. Jonathan (8-years-old) just broke his pencil. He leaves the table to find another pencil or a pencil sharpener. My sighs are becoming louder.
3:53 Jonathan finds a quarter and lets everyone know about it. He still hasn’t found a pencil.
3:55 Noelle finds a pencil for Jonathan. She can’t do her homework, but she wants to make sure her brother can.
3:56 While I typed that last sentence, Jonathan said that he needs help approximately 57 times. I sigh again and then stop to help him.
3:58 Finished helping Jonathan. Now Matthew needs help.
3:59 Finished helping Matthew. Wondering why Bradley (9-years-old) hasn’t asked for help yet. It might be a Christmas Miracle arriving a little over a month late.
4:00 While typing that last sentence, Jonathan said that he needs help just once. He’s learning.
4:01 Jonathan didn’t really need my help; he was just kidding. Now Bradley needs my help. I knew it couldn’t last.
4:02 I finish helping Bradley.
4:03 Jonathan shows me that the wart he had on his thumb is now gone. Another belated Christmas Miracle.
4:04 Matthew finishes his homework in near record time. There is much rejoicing.
4:05 The rejoicing is temporary. Jonathan needs help again.
4:06 While helping Jonathan, Bradley begins singing The National Anthem. I resist the urge to stand.
4:07 Now Jonathan is singing God Bless the USA.
4:08 Now they’re both singing The National Anthem. They make Steven Tyler’s rendition sound good.
4:09 Back to business–helping Jonathan.
4:10 Mary Hope (3-years-old) screams from a back bedroom. Apparently Matthew has decided to bother her. I choose to ignore it. She stops screaming.
4:11 Bradley asks a question about his homework. Jonathan gives him an answer. He is wrong.
4:13 Finished helping Bradley for a moment. Jonathan appears to be in a trance. I get his attention. He’s back on track–for now.
4:14 Bradley asks what w-i-d-t-h spells. I tell him width. He asks me what that means. I tell him. He says, “Oh!” I love filling young minds with knowledge.
4:15 Jonathan finishes his math homework. I check it. It is correct. Yiiipppppeeeee! Now on to spelling.
4:16 For spelling, Jonathan has to cut out letters and then arrange the letters into the words that I will then call out. His cutting skills are pretty good. I ponder the possibility that he might one day become a surgeon or a seamstress. Can men be seamstresses? Do seamstresses have to cut a lot?
4:18 Jonathan is through cutting out his letters. I start calling out his spelling words. The first word is pause. He spells it p-u-a-s-e. I correct him without sighing too loudly. I’m a good parent.
4:20 I look at Bradley to make sure he is still working. He sees me looking at him and says, “What?” I say, “Nothing–as you were.”
4:21 Second word for Jonathan is launch. He spells this one incorrectly, too. I consider launching my laptop through the window.
4:22 Bradley needs help with finding a word with a soft “c.”
4:23 Jonathan’s third word is fault. He spells it correctly. Yay! Next word–draw.
4:24 Noelle comes up to me and apologizes for leaving her homework at school. I hug her and say that it’s ok.
4:25 Jonathan spelled draw correctly. He’s on a roll. Next word–law. Correct again! Next word–jaw. Boom! Next word–fawn. Woohoo! Next word–hawk. You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him! Next word–raw. Yes! Next word–crawl. Auuggghhh! The streak comes to an end.
4:26 Jonathan has to go to the bathroom. All of that spelling has caused some movement in his bowels. Or bowel. Is that supposed to be plural or singular?
4:27 Matthew and Mary Hope are wrestling in the living room.
4:28 They have now taken their fight elsewhere.
4:29 Helped Bradley find words with the soft g sound. I’m a beast at 3rd grade English.
4:30 Matthew has just yelled “I’m telling.” Some discussion arises between him and Noelle. He reverses his decision and chooses not to tell.
4:31 Matthew threatens to throw Mary Hope’s baby doll out of the front door. I yell “Hey!” He refrains from tossing the doll.
4:32 Bradley asks me what “pity” means. I tell him. Jonathan is still in the bathroom. I pity whoever goes in there after him.
4:34 Jonathan is back from the bathroom. I ask him if he washed is hands. He says no and heads back to the bathroom.
4:35 Bradley has disappeared.
4:36 Bradley reappears and asks what time it is. I tell him. Jonathan hasn’t returned from washing his hands yet. About to send out a search party.
4:37 Jonathan returns with a complaint that Matthew keeps on hitting people. I say, “That’s terrible.” Back to his words. Last two words are shoe and flew. He spells them correctly. He is now done with his homework. Bradley is the last kid standing. Or sitting. Whichever.
4:39 Matthew yells “I’m telling” again. He doesn’t tell. He’s the boy who cried “tell!”
4:40 Matthew yells “I’m telling” again. Again he doesn’t tell.
4:41 Jonathan says, “Daddy, my hand’s starting to bleed.” He cut it or scraped it at school today. I tell him to put a band-aid on it.
4:42 Bradley can’t sit still.
4:43 Bradley needs help. I help him.
4:44 Sounds like someone just fell into the wall in the hallway. Mary Hope says “Ow, ow, ow!” Then silence. Matthew asks her if she is ok. She says yes.
4:45 Matthew just threatened to arrest Mary Hope. Not sure what she has done, but I vow within myself to bail her out no matter how much it costs.
4:46 Bradley stretches and yawns. I feel his pain. He’s almost done.
4:47 Jonathan, Mary Hope, and Matthew all start yelling. I am not sure why. The yelling stops. Jonathan yells, “Let’s tie Matthew to a chair.” I hope they’re just playing, but if they aren’t that’s okay, too.
4:48 Bradley needs help. One of his questions mentions an answering machine. He doesn’t know what an answering machine is because my wife and I only have cell phones.
4:50 Bradley complains about how much work he has to do. I tell him that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. He looks at me vacantly.
4:54 The other kids have been quiet for a few minutes. It doesn’t last.
4:56 Bradley finishes his homework. I fight back tears of joy.
It has taken us 1 hour and 8 minutes to finish our homework.
Is this normal?
No–it usually takes longer. I need a nap.
How long does it take your kids to do their homework on average?
If you don’t have kids, does this make you want to keep it that way?