When is homework not homework?

The past two weekends, my youngest son (who’s in sixth grade) has been slammed with homework. Projects, tests, quizzes, homeworks… It’s been an endless stream of challenges.

His older brother, however, has managed to get ahead of the curve, and has been getting quite a kick out of watching his brother work while he lounged around, reading and relaxing.

This morning, after another weekend of “everything’s done!”, I found him at the computer, typing fast.

“Last minute homework?” I asked casually.


Last minute homework is a cardinal sin in our house. Last year, we had way too many “I forgot to mention this project that’s due tomorrow” instances, and I finally blew my stack. It was a pretty epic explosion, and it left an impression.

“Maybe it’s just something you forgot until this morning?” I asked. “No big deal.”

He didn’t look away from the screen. “It’s not homework.”

“Are you playing on the computer?” I asked. “Because that’s something we don’t do before school.”

“No,” he said, exasperated. “It’s just something I have to do.”

“Something that’s definitely not homework.”


“That your teacher wants you to do?” I asked.


“And she wants to see it today.”

“That’s right.”

“But it’s not homework.” I said.


I have to give him credit for ingenuity, if not creativity. He should have at least come up with a word for his “not homework.” Maybe “duties outside of class” or “extracurricular responsibilities.”

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