Monday, April 05, 2010

4/5/2010 Why I Hate Homework

Gabriel has yet another book report due, this time on poetry.

I thought this would be a real pain, until my most excellent Mom friends suggested Shel Silverstein as a very kid-friendly poet. Maybe this won't be so bad after all!

Naturally, every other 2nd-grader had the same idea -- the library was wiped out of Shel Silverstein. But the most excellent librarian suggested a Jack Prelutzky book, "Something BIG has been here," instead. I knew it was the right one when I couldn't get Gabriel to lift his head from it, and he was laughing aloud.

Tonight I told him to read 6 poems in the poetry book for his nightly reading, and again, I heard him laughing aloud reading it. "Fred gets out of bed and puts his underwear on his head" is irresistable, it seems.

So during dinner, the usual boy-banter turned to, of all things, poetry. And out of nowhere, Gabriel rattled off a goofy set of rhymes that had him and Julian in peals of laughter. He excused himself quickly from dinner to go write it down.

And that's when I heard myself say the unthinkable:

"Stop working on the poem and go do your homework."

The absurdity was palpable. Stop working on a creative pursuit that you're excited about and that avoided the normal dinnertime foul-mouthedness, and go work on repetitive drudgery that does little to advance your education.

"Stop working on your poem and do your homework."

Homework is a fact of life in our world, and it has to be prioritized, so I have to go through the motions of insisting he work on it. But I hate it when schoolwork stifles actual learning and creativity. Gabriel insisted on writing down his poem before starting his homework. For once, I didn't get too mad at being ignored.

The Light Bulb Caught Some Fire

The light bulb caught some fire,
Of course it gave off smoke,
The smoke detector started beeping,
And also began to choke.

Weird things began to happen,
Like the place mats rolled up like crazy.
The basket fell off the shelf,
And in my lunch box there was a daisy.

I don't care at all about quality of the prose or his future as a poet -- seeing the bright excited look in his eyes, his face lit with humor, his characteristic determination and enthusiasm, told me this is how school should be for him.

Yet he got in trouble numerous times at school today for rude and disruptive behavior, such as loud burping during someone's presentation. After school, he worked on his schematic for a radio-controlled car IC (integrated circuit).

This person has so much ability, so much potential, so much power -- yet I'm getting worried that school is losing him.


1 comment:

Louise said...

I love this poem! The rhythm is great, the imagery is vibrant, and I think it is sly how the second stanza implies that what happened in the first stanza wasn't weird enough. I'll be it would make a terrific animated short cartoon...