I recently asked a group of mothers what each of their days was like: when the day began, what it was filled with, and when it ended. Almost to a person, each woman gets up between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. and her day ends between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. The women are responsible for fixing meals (one Mom fixed 5 meals every morning!), rousing the children from their beds, and getting them off to school. Their days center on kids and spouses. I inquired as to whether any of them took time for themselves.
I'm often asked whether I believe that children today have too much homework. My answer is "yes." Having said that, however, I think that most schools who give too much homework are finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Elementary schools, to prepare children for the homework demands of middle school, must give more and more homework as the children advance through the grades. Likewise, middle schools, to prepare kids for the challenges of high school, must do the same.
Interruptions are a part of life. As adults we've come to expect some interruptions and, for the most part, handle them with a certain amount of grace. When we're on the phone, for example, and our call waiting interrupts, we either ignore it or ask the person to whom we're talking to please wait, our other line is ringing and we'll get right back to them.
Three year old Jason just took a toy from his younger brother, rudely grabbing it from him and making him cry. Dad, in a firm voice, says, "Jason, go to time out right now." "Ok," says Jason nonchalantly and saunters into his bedroom to wait for the requisite 10 minutes to pass until he can come back out into the living room. In another house, not too far away, a mother is also trying time out. But her daughter, Laurie, reacts differently from Jason. She bursts into angry tears and says, "I hate you.