In the Classroom: No Homework No Scieszka?

On the first day of school, my son and I made a deal. In three days, one of his favorite authors — Jon Scieszka, editor of the “Guys Read” short story collections — was coming to Nashville for a reading and signing downtown. If my son showed me that he could keep track of his early school assignments and bring home everything he needed for each of those first few nights of homework, he could go.

From Mary Laura Philpott’s Homework and Consequences.

I’m sorry, but as a teacher this is NOT a consequence I’d recommend for missed homework.  Makes me sick to my stomach that this poor kid — spoiler — didn’t get to see his favorite author.




Filed under In the Classroom

4 responses to “In the Classroom: No Homework No Scieszka?

  1. Ariel

    I so agree, Monica. With so many other things to take away from a child, why take away something you WANT them to have? Especially something that encourages love of reading.


  2. snarly

    I hear you and Ariel. But I’m sympathetic to the mom. You have to use what motivates a kid. For me toilet-training was easy because both my kids were motivated by treats (and one hated to be wet). For other parents, toilet-training can be hellish because they can’t find an incentive that works. Older-kid parallel: If the author visit was the best motivation the parent could find to get the kid to do homework, then I do understand.

    BUT I also wonder if the kid has an undiagnosed learning disability. He was SO MOTIVATED to see his favorite author, and he still couldn’t manage to get his homework done. I feel terrible for him and I hope his mom is doing more than just exhorting him to DO YOUR FREAKIN HOMEWORK.


  3. Sam B

    snarly, my kids are little – 5 and 2 – so I can’t speak to how I will parent when it comes to homework assignments. But I can tell you that we NEVER use reading/book-related stuff as a punishment. (I know, never say never.) If my 5-year old is dragging her heels at bedtime I’ve been tempted to say “No books before bed if you don’t finish brushing your teeth, getting into your pajamas, etc.” but books just aren’t something I want to get in the habit of using as a punishment. Maybe an author visit is different to some people, but I see it as the same kind of thing. Not a good move by the parent, I say.


  4. I’m a strong believer in logical consequences, and there’s nothing logical about not getting to see Jon Scieszka if you can’t get your homework done. If you can’t get your homework done, your grades will suffer. That’s the logical consequence. And parents have to be very careful to make sure NOT to do what this parent did: give up power. Does the parent want the kid to see Jon Scieszka (in my case that would be a huge YES)? If so, don’t use it as a consequence because you give up your power and let the kid decide whether or not to see Scieszka.


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