Were you one of those kids that just loved to do their homework? Did your children come home from school and ask if they could get rigth to their homework ? No prompting. No whining. Funny, the thoughts that are going through your mind right now are the same as those of studetns and parents all over France. Homework is a pain.
Families in France have the same homework dilemas as their counterparts in the States. No need to tell you, you know all of the issues and buttons.
Twice a week our little village offers an after school homework club. Students come directly from school to the community hall for an hour and a half to work with a group of volunteers. The hope is to take a little pressure off this exercise for at least these two days and to establish a rhythm to the work time; snack, homework, play.
Snack will be two long baguettes slathered with butter, accompanied by blocks of chocolate or jam. Yes, a buttered slice of bread with chocolate. In winter the kids are good about eating an amazing amount of clementines. At this time of year they settle for applesauce.
After snack it's time to get down to business. Procrastination suddenly sets in. It takes a good five miutes to get out the homework notebooks. Then they have to find something to write with and of course getting their bottoms into a chair is pert near impossible.
Even without the distractions of home it can take a moment to buckle down to conjuations, multiplication tables, poetry memorization, and spelling list. A five minute exercise can take a good 15 to 25 minutes, longer, depending on the obstinancy of the child.
Ah, but once it is done it's play time. Dodge ball, tag, paper airplane competitions, games as universal as the afterschool homework.
I know you can picture the emotions of homework, but I wonder if you can picture yourself giving a child bread and butter with a slab of chocolate to get them going. It just wouldn’t do if there wasn’t at least one big difference between here and there.
Try the bread, butter, chocolate - you'll thank me!