Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Home Version

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - October 31, 2007
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The first time I went through the woes of homework was with our son, who is now 18 years old and attending college. Homework of today is nothing like homework when I was growing up. My homework was trying to get a potato to grow little spuds.

My kids’ homework is nearly the equivalent of reading Alan Greenspan’s book and dispelling his theory of economics - in Latin. Seriously, while my wife and I barely survived our son’s early education, we have a whole new batch of stress with our 10-year-old daughter’s homework.

And yes, she is in the fifth grade. I’m not sure why that was the level of education used for the popular TV show, but the homework at that grade can be tough, even for us “edumacated” adults. My wife and I are pretty smart and after all, I am the publisher of this newspaper.

By the way, that doesn’t mean spit. The other week, it was a typical homework night for our daughter. She and her mother were going over math and had just completed a worksheet. My wife was not quite confident that they had the right answers, so they turned to me to check them.

After doing some calculations, I found a few answers that I felt were wrong. Our daughter started to argue with me and I played the “I know what I’m talking about, I’m an adult” card and made her change her answers. My wife supported our daughter, which made me even cockier, and I insisted.

The next day when I came home from work, the homework paper was splayed on the kitchen table. All the answers I had her change were wrong. Neither of them said anything about it, which was worse than if they verbally rubbed my nose in it.

Later that evening, the two of them were working on homework when I overheard their conversation. Our daughter was doing her health homework, which consists of an appropriate parochial version of sex education. She asked her mother if she should ask Dad. My wife, who knew I was listening, replied with a sardonic smile, “Nah, he’s not that good in this subject.”

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