Sunday, 21 February 2010


My son has had six weeks to complete a history project on Samuel Pepys. It was supposed to be four weeks, but the teacher gave his class an extension as he 'wasn't going to be around to mark it'.

Since when do teachers give thirteen year olds a fortnight's extra time for homework? The old bats at my school seemed to live for the occasions when some poor pupil hadn't finished her homework. They rubbed their hands together with glee, whilst calling the offender up to the front of the class for the ritual convent school humiliation.

Anyway, I digress. Six weeks to complete a 'project' which in modern educational speak means a brief Powerpoint file on the meatier highlights of the subject's life. Some stolen snippets from Wikipedia, a couple of jpegs thrown in, a cursory snoop by spellcheck. Job done.

Well, not this time. I was determined that Son would do the job properly and marched him down to the library a few times to research, the old fashioned way. I made him come with me to work, so that he could spend a day trapped in the office, writing up his notes. I hoped that this would serve a couple of purposes:

1. Force him to sit and do his homework with no distractions.
2. Make him realise that, if he continued his education in this slap dash, teenaged manner, he too would end up stuck behind a PC in an office, wondering where it had all gone wrong.

Satisfied that my maternal duty had been fulfilled, I left him to it.

So, taking into account the draconian measures I'd been forced to adopt before my son wasted his WHOLE LIFE before it had even begun, I was suprised to see that yesterday morning, a mere two days before the work was supposed to be handed in, he had hardly started.

I did what every sane mother could do. I left the house, walked into the town and nursed a couple of coffees whilst reading Red magazine for a couple of hours. I returned, refreshed and ready to do battle. I fully expected the usual drama to be played out in our kitchen:

ME: You have got to start taking this seriously. You can't just drift through your school life, trying to make people laugh and being popular. You can't get by in the grown up world with just a firm handshake and the Queen's English.

SON (Gazing into the distance, just above my right shoulder): It didn't seem to do you any harm. Relax. I'll be fine.

ME: Don't be cheeky. Look at me properly. Do you think that I grew up, wanting to be an I.T. manager? I don't care what you do, as long as you try your hardest and use your talents to your full potential.

(Husband reminders me later that Son's talents are, in fact, making people laugh and generally being popular).

In fact, Son greeted me at the door to tell me that the homework is finished and asked me if I'd like to check it for him.

I spent half an hour reading the project and realised that it's excellent and that, if he doesn't get an 'A', I will have something to say to his tutor.

I really don't know what the moral is behind this story. Relax. It'll be fine.


Heather said...

damn those kids, how do they do that?

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Another post of yours that strikes a chord with me. My 13 year old has had some homework hanging over him all of the holiday but is very poorly today with very high temperature! I keep wittering about "the moral of the story is to do it earlier.." but I suspect he hopes he may be too ill for school tomorrow.
Have just gone upstairs and he has virtually completed it by cutting and pasting from the internet. Under the circumstances I thought this a rather good idea and have turned a blind eye!!

(ps - you should post this with Mad Manic Mamas too, they would love it)

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I'll be reminding myself of this post when my boys get old enough to be in this position. x

Anonymous said...

Do they realise there was life before the internet??

Mind you - I'm typing this at work showing some highly developed procrastination techniques. Some things never change!

Footballers Knees said...

Heather - one day, one day they'll learn. And of course I would never say 'Told you so!'

Trish - good call, I would have turned and silently left him to his cutting and pasting.

FM - its only a metter of time!

Mud - me too - I didn't like to mention that I work better under pressure. Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?