EppsNet Archive: Homework

Teaching Computer Science: The Phones Aren’t Helping You

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week at a local high school, helping out with computer science classes. The way the classes are taught, via an online curriculum, provides a great temptation to kids to get off-task, which they do, usually by entertaining themselves with their phones. They get off-task in other ways too — web surfing, doing homework for… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: X Hours of Homework

School is back in session and I’m listening to one of my colleagues say that his son started junior high school this year and had 6 hours of homework last night. It’s a way of bragging: My kid’s school is more academically oriented than your kid’s school. Maybe your kid is just slow. Maybe other people’s kids are finishing the… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Today Was Not the Best Day to Say What You Just Said

I asked the class to pass in today’s homework and a student said, “I couldn’t figure out what homework was due today.” I wasn’t feeling at my best to begin with. I was tired because I was up late making sure the class website was updated with all relevant materials, homework assignments were listed at the top of the page… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Mindset

I’m not comfortable giving people advice that they didn’t ask for, so I usually preface it by saying “Feel free to ignore this . . .” That being said, I want to talk about the mindset I think you should have for this class, maybe for other classes, maybe even for things outside of school. Feel free to ignore this… Read more →

We Need Better Parents

Kids can’t do well in school unless their family has a lot of money, according to an op-ed in the New York Times, which goes on to argue that massive intervention by “policy makers” is needed to confront this issue head-on. The authors, Helen Ladd and Edward Fiske, are a husband-and-wife team of academic researchers. Education reform in a nutshell:… Read more →

High School Seniors Do Not Appreciate 17th Century Metaphysical Poetry

“Have you read ‘Break of Day’ by John Donne?” my son asks. “I haven’t,” I reply, “but that’s more of a failing on my part than a reflection on the greatness of John Donne.” “John Donne sucks.” “You can’t talk about metaphysical poetry without giving it up for John Donne.” “I don’t want to talk about metaphysical poetry. How is… Read more →

Homework Follies

Worked some physics problems with my boy last night . . . the subject at hand was torque, which his textbook expresses in units of mN. “Back in my day, we used to measure torque in foot-pounds,” I said. “What’s mN? Millinewtons?” “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess so.” “OK, we’re off to a great start!” Read more →

What Am I Thinking About?

High school roller hockey starts tonight. To prevent the use of ringers, each kid has to turn in an enlarged color copy of their school ID card. I reminded my son about that requirement last night as he was doing homework in his room. “Why don’t you go ahead and make the copy now while you’re thinking about it?” I… Read more →

Things I Love to Do on a Hot Summer Evening

My son’s going into 11th grade next week. He’s got a couple of honors classes, a couple of AP classes, Spanish 3 and a music class. It looks like a very tough schedule to me — he’s also got college entrance exams this year — but that’s where his academic history has brought him and he says he wants to… Read more →

Whatever Helps

It was after 11 p.m. last night. I was already in bed but my son was still downstairs doing homework. He’s got a hockey game tonight in Huntington Beach and he wanted to work ahead a little bit. Then I heard: “WOOOOOOO! WAAAAAAAH! BABABABABABABABABABABABABA!” I got up, went out to the stairs and yelled down, “What are you DOING?” “It’s… Read more →

Father-Son Conversations

FATHER: Would you take out the trash please? SON: Are you KIDDING?! I’m doing homework! I’ll take out the trash if you read To Kill a Mockingbird and tell me what each chapter is about. FATHER: I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. You want to know what it’s about? ‘Racism is Bad.’ Now take out the garbage.   SON: Mom… Read more →

Homework Follies

My son just came downstairs for a visit . . . “‘What’s due tomorrow?’” he says in his Dopey Dad voice. Then back in his normal voice: “Math and Spanish. (Dopey Dad voice) ‘Are they done yet?’ (Normal voice) Spanish is done. I still have a little bit of math. (Dopey Dad voice) ‘Do you need me to check anything?’… Read more →

The Dog Ate My Homework

It’s an old joke but does it ever really happen? My son’s science homework for last night was to build some Lewis dots using Froot Loops. This morning, the dog ran out and managed to take a couple of bites of a Lewis dot before we were able to fend him off . . . Read more →

Homework Follies

“This is racist,” my son says. I look over to see what he’s talking about. He’s sitting on the sofa doing math homework. “What’s racist?” I ask. “The math book?” “Yeah. They have answers in the back for problem 9 and problem 13, but not problem 11. Because I’m a Mexican.” “You’re a Mexican?!” “I’m a mixed kid,” he corrects… Read more →

A Lesson in Procrastination

My son’s supposed to be finishing up his first 8th grade assignment — a math collage for his Algebra class — but instead he’s bouncing a basketball around the house. “Finsh the assignment!” my wife says. “No more procrastinating!” “I’m not PRO-CRAS-TI-NA-TING!” the boy yells, punctuating each syllable by slamming the ball on the floor. “You are procrastinating,” I say.… Read more →

Homework Follies

My son asks for help with a homework problem in math. The main point of contention with math homework is that when he asks for help, he’d like me to just do the problem for him, while I prefer to try and steer his thinking in the right direction, even though it takes a lot longer. “This is like the… Read more →

How Homework Gets Done at My House

My son’s reading Catherine, Called Birdy for his 7th grade Language Arts class. The book is set in medieval England and written in the form of a 14-year-old girl’s diary. “It’s got no theme, no plot, no flow, no fun, no nothing!” the boy says. “It’s gay!” I sympathize with him — it reads like a 13th century MySpace blog… Read more →

101 Ways to Say No

My son’s got a seemingly endless number of ways to answer no to the question “Are you done with your homework yet?” Some recent examples: — Pretty much all done, yeah. — Yes I am! (Long pause) Except for a little reading… — What? Read more →

Why I Don’t Own a Hatchet or a Gun

I’m in the processing of converting all the old content here into WordPress, which among other things, lets me assign categories to each item. I filed one item, principally about a woman who ran over her husband with a car, under several categories, including Murder and Kids. My son, who’s sitting next to me on the sofa doing homework, says,… Read more →

Great Orators of the 7th Grade

I can’t really hear what my son is holding forth on downstairs — just snippets about tyranny, racism, slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, civil rights and child abuse — which means his mom must have asked him to turn off the TV and get started on homework . . . Read more →

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