Fake Math Homework

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The following mornings are awful, my daughter teary-eyed and exhausted but still trudging to school.

I wonder: What is the exact nature of the work that is turning her into a sleep-deprived teen zombie so many mornings?

During the school week, she averages three to four hours of homework a night and six and a half hours of sleep.

Some evenings, when we force her to go to bed, she will pretend to go to sleep and then get back up and continue to do homework for another hour.

That is the advice of my 13-year-old daughter, Esmee, as I struggle to make sense of a paragraph of notes for an upcoming Earth Science test on minerals.

“Minerals have crystal systems which are defined by the # of axis and the length of the axis that intersect the crystal faces.” That’s how the notes start, and they only get murkier after that.

Frank Mc Court, whom I once saw give a beautiful tribute to Peter Matthiessen at a Paris Review Revel, is engaging and funny.

But after 30 minutes I am only about 16 pages in, and Esmee has finished studying for Earth Science and needs the book. It is now time for me to struggle with Earth Science. “The term synergistic applies to the combined efforts of Tarbuck and Lutgens,” says the biographical note at the beginning.

I should state for the record my assumption that students need a amount certainly varies by the student, however.

Some students don’t need more than a couple problems.


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