What a Chore

Me First, our resident first grader, has homework every day. Up until now, weekday homework has consisted of a worksheet and a reading assignment. Weekend homework is usually correcting a kanji test, copying the mistaken kanji a set number of times, and correcting mistakes in his katakana drill book (they’ve finished hiragana now.) Brother’s handwriting is horrible, and the teacher is picky. Weekend homework usually takes a long time. Weekdays, not so much. (He also does English homework in addition to his schoolwork, and together they take between 30 or 45 minutes every day.)

Every week, the teacher gives him a homework sheet. Parents have to “grade” the reading assignment and write a comment every day. I’ve been out of new comments for about five months now. Yesterday, I drew a picture of a zebra in the comment space. (Hey, I’m not completely nuts- the reading assignment was about a baby zebra.)

A couple of weeks ago, though, the teacher revised the homework sheet. At the top of the page, the children now write in a household chore that they will be in charge of for the week. Then beneath that, there is a row with five stars. Every day they do the chore without being told, they are to color it green. If someone has to remind them, they are supposed to color it yellow. If the chore doesn’t get done it’s supposed to be colored red.

In theory, this is a good idea. The teacher probably thinks it’s a good idea. She may even be under the impression that the parents also think it’s a good idea. But in practice, well, no, it is not a good idea.

Why, you ask?

The children choose a chore on Monday morning, with no parental input. The teacher won’t let them include tasks they do for themselves (which would actually be helpful) like folding your pajamas or putting your cr@p away. That means Me First comes home with overly ambitious projects, like putting out the laundry (he can’t reach it,) or taking out the garbage (dumpster is in a parking lot where he does NOT need to be going by himself,) or feeding his sister (she’s four! And that just turned into an awful mess.) Last week he wanted to wash the dishes.


He “washed” the dishes, then after he finished I re-washed them and then cleaned the floor.

Note to teacher:

This week, I convinced him to change his chore from folding the clothes to clearing the table. This is a do-able assignment. But not fun like washing dishes was. Yep, he went through an entire bottle of dishwashing detergent in three days.

But the “punishment” for not doing it is not a good deterrent. Me First doesn’t care much if that star is colored green or red.

A related incident:
We bought Brother a wallet over the weekend, and HRH suggested to Brother that he could do some chores around the house for extra cash.

I wish he had consulted me before he said that, because I don’t agree with this at all. Here’s my opinion: we are a family; we live in the same house so we share the work and the income. But in retrospect, HRH probably doesn’t feel that way. Or that’s what his socks on the floor and the dinner dishes still on the table in the morning are trying to tell me.

So now anytime Me First does the littlest thing, he comes asking me for cash. This morning he wanted ten yen for flushing the toilet! That’s just sh!tty.

Note to husband:


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. hamakkomommy
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 16:04:03

    Okay, I timed it. Today’s homework was 55 minutes. After about thirty minutes of math, I started giving hints. We didn’t get around to the reading assignment today. I pulled it in favor of getting some English time in. We can do the Japanese reading assignment in the morning, or god forbid the teacher could have them do it any of the six hours they are at school for god’s sake. He needs time to do his REAL work- messing with the Hina dolls and fighting with his sister!


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