Last week my daughter brought home a notice from school that made me raise my eyebrows. Her school is trialling a new initiative this term, it said. The students aren’t getting homework – except the usual basic facts, spelling, and reading, and speeches for the older students. I’m not sure this amounts to much of a change for our household, since spelling, reading, basic facts, and speeches take a good hour each night anyway. But the idea is interesting.

One of my friends is completely anti-homework. If her kids bring it home, it doesn’t get done. She sends it back with a note telling the teacher, “We don’t do homework. Please make time during the school day for this.” She’s never told me what the teacher’s reply might have been. I don’t think I’d have the courage to do that, but I admire her guts.

When I was in school, besides having to walk 10km uphill both ways in a snowstorm every day without shoes, we had a lot of homework. I can remember slaving over algebra problems for what felt like hours. (Thank you, universe, for giving me a career where algebra is not in the job description!) Reading was never a problem for me, though – I love to read, and I consume books like food. Actually, I’m pretty sure I consume more books than food.

My daughter is the same. She also loves to read, and the library or bookstore are her favourite places to visit. So the “reading” part of her non-homework isn’t an issue. Basic facts she does on the computer, on her own. That leaves spelling as the only thing I really need to do with her – and it doesn’t take long. So maybe what the notice from school was really telling me is, “The parents aren’t getting homework this term.”

I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I do loathe nagging my daughter to do homework, and asking if she’s done it, and cajoling her through tiredness to just get it done, and checking it over. On the other hand, it gives me a good reason to hang out with my kid every night whether she wants me to or not. So we’ll see what this term brings. Maybe I’ll have to give myself some homework, and ask her for her help?

What I’m reading this week: Melie’s Kitchen, by Amelia Ferrier (Random House $40)


Amelia Ferrier started working on this book when she was a 16-year-old student – she’s now 18 and this gorgeous hardback book is filled with beautiful recipes for baked goods and sweet treats. I’ve got a thing for baking cookbooks, and this one has particularly delicious-looking slices: I’m trying to decide between No-Bake Date, Coconut, White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Slice and Hazelnut, Coconut, and Honeycomb Ginger Crunch. And then there are the pies – the Pink Grapefruit, Lime, and Mascarpone Pie looks divine. The author particularly excels at decorating, with a number of gorgeous ideas for how to make your creations look just as good as they taste.

Have a great week.
Katherine Granich

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