I watched you with you pencil in hand, scratch number after number in the blanks, color in the boxes and flip the page to complete a number sentence. Five pages, two of them with 25 problems lined up like chairs in the DMV. Your mom said you had so much homework, please give him some time. You did it fast. You did it dutifully. You did not do it with interest, engagement and used very little skill. You were a chicken pecking out your twosies. Times tables still get memorized, still get learned, get to become part of your collection of math ideas even when not drilled. That homework was drill. I am glad you are still alive. Drill and kill is not effective. But something in. your classroom was right. You learned these already. You knew just what to write beneath the line where two multiplicands, none over 12 teased and taunted you above those lines. I got this, you told me. Steeling yourself for a dull half hour session with the twos times tables you slogged through the pages, kicking them aside like a dragon trainer only can. You got the twos down. Pencil smoking. Done. I hope next week you get to do the threesies. Or maybe just for fun the text book might mix them up, toss in a few fours or an eight, I mean wouldn’t it be cool if you discovered a relationship between the twosies and foursies? Then watched the numbers in your head dance when an eight times two was something you already knew. Oh, well, its all transitory, isn’t it? Reinforcing, strengthening those neurons, constructing a pathway through that wild math forest in your brain. That’s what homework always was, Maybe always will be. You are a good sport, buddy.IMG_0732

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