It's the third week of August. My garden zinnias are high, the mint is bursting -- and this year my kids don't go back to school until Sept. 7! That's pretty late for them. Cara and Ryan aren't so much happy for the extra time it gives them to hang out and eat ice pops. No, they're grateful for the extra time it gives them to do their summer homework.
Ryan, who could possibly be diagnosed with a reading allergy, finally got a book from the public library a week ago for his 6th-grade summer reading. Usually, there are 40 books to choose from. This year when we walked in, there were five lonely books on the otherwise empty shelf. One was about a princess, another was about a boy growing up Chinese. Ryan chose one with robot zombies from the Imagine Nation.
As cool as robot zombies sound, the book actually has almost 500 pages. And there's only a couple weeks left to summer. That shouldn't be a problem for most kids. However, whenever I tell Ryan to read, he pulls out his menu of excuses as to why he can't:
"I have a headache."
"My eyes hurt. I think I played too much Xbox."
"I need to go to my gym!"
"After this show."
"After I'm done with my shower."
"What did I do--why are you punishing me?!?"
Cara, meanwhile, has assignments for science, history and English. One of the projects entails reading a 1,000-page book, "Pillars of the Earth." Cara loves to read. But from what I gather, this book discusses architectural details in great detail. For many, many pages at a time... just... architectural details. She's not impressed.
However, whereas Ryan will use any excuse to get out of reading, Cara will use her need to read to get out of doing anything else.
Me: "Cara, did you clean your room yet?"
Cara: "I have 100 pages to read today!"
Me: "Yesterday you said you had 100 pages left. What is happening?"
Cara: "No, I had to read 100 pages yesterday, and 100 more today, and 100 more tomorrow and do a report, and then I have to...."
Me: "So... the bed... the clothes...?"
In just a couple of weeks, the days will be broken up into the morning rat race to get them out, the workday, and then the afternoon/evening activity craziness, with homework hell thrown in for good measure.
Should I pour a minty mojito now or wait 'til I really need it then?