Anitra Smith (anitra) wrote,
Anitra Smith

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My Homework Wars story

One of my favorite LJ bloggers, bradhicks wrote a piece he calls Brad and the Homework Wars, explaining why he got out of doing homework throughout his school career (short reason: "Test me.")

I did the vast majority of homework I was assigned, but I still had similar problems in school. Why is that? Read on for my story.

As a young child, I desparately wanted to read and write, but my mother purposefully didn't teach me - Adult literacy is her specialty, and she didn't want to push me into anything too quickly. However, I did get enrolled in full-day kindergarten when I was only 4 years old, and I learned to read there. I rose to a highschool reading level by the time I was 7.

As a child, I didn't mind most homework. In general, I'd whiz through it pretty quickly, especially if it involved lots of reading. If it interested me, I'd do homework days or weeks ahead of schedule. If I had questions, I was going to ask my parents (an English/reading teacher and an engineer), not wait until we covered the material in the classroom.

As a teenager, I generally did all my homework, but couldn't be arsed to pay attention in class unless the teacher was actually covering something I hadn't seen before. Instead, I would read fiction or take a nap. I got put into one or two "remedial" classes for just this reason - it didn't matter that my grades were good, the teacher wanted to punish me for being a nuisance. Usually in the remedial classes, the teachers couldn't care less what I did at my desk, since I obviously knew the material, and they had bigger problems to deal with.

One teacher finally explained it to me in a way that made sense: "Anitra, I know you know the material we're reviewing in class. But the other kids see you sleeping or reading, and they assume they can goof off too. Please try to stay awake and look like you're paying attention?"

In hindsight, my homework habits really helped me when I started college - unlike many of my "smarter" friends, I was already in the habit of doing homework. And unlike highschool teachers, university professors know that homework should not simply be a re-hash (or pre-hash) of their lectures.
Tags: family, history

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