Book Reports

If you do not have a sense of humor, stop reading now. This blog isn’t for you.

If you have little school boys and school girls who rush home to tackle their homework, please go do something else now.

If your kids read voraciously and write passionately, you won’t like what I’m going to say.

Tonight I feel good. Make that great. Today I accomplished a lot. I wrote the prologue for my new Harlequin, polished chapter one of the book and got part way through chapter 2. But that’s not all. I also did a book report, and frankly, I did a fabulous job. I really think this is one of the best book reports I’ve done yet.

What? You don’t do book reports anymore? But then, that must mean you don’t do your son’s work. You must make your kid be responsible. But why? Why let him turn in mediocre work and get a lousy grade when you can do all the work yourself and get an A? Seriously. Think about it. Kids don’t need the pressure or stress of doing ‘big’ projects and reports. Why should they have to work? Why should they do anything but eat, sleep, and play Nintendo?

And so I’ve put together a little primer for other moms who do too much. It’s called ‘How To Get The Most Out of Doing Your Child’s Homework’.

1) Tell your son/daughter early that you are not going to do the report. Tell son/daughter that you are not reading the novel this time with him/her. Tell son/daughter that you’ve gone to school–in fact, you’ve been to college–and you don’t do book reports anymore. You don’t have to. You have a job of your own. THEN, 6 pm before the report is due, and the novel isn’t read sit down, read the book, discuss the book with son/daughter, and stay up planning report. When child finally goes to bed at 10 or 11, stay up another hour or two finishing things the child couldn’t do. This makes for wonderful family memories.

2) When assisting with book report, don’t do a boring report like everyone else. Now that you’re involved, be different! Go big! Show off all your creativity! Who cares if the teacher knows you helped? You did! Be proud!

3) Throw out your child’s ideas (they weren’t that good anyway) and just make report your own. You deserve the chance to shine and it’s not often you get rewarded anymore, so grab your Creative Memories scrapbook supplies, your Print Shop software, your knowledge of Adobe Photoshop Illustrator and blow the other kids (and their moms) out of the water. Do you really think you’re the only mom doing a book report at midnight? Hell no. So show the other moms you’re waaaaaay better at 5th grade projects and reports.

4) Always leave a small place for your child to sign his (your) masterpiece. Make sure he/she signs in pencil so it looks authentic. But if signature is a little too sloppy, erase it when son/daughter isn’t looking and rewrite it more neatly but with a hint of childish scrawl. Remember, creativity AND quality matters. Pick up all those small bonus points (they really do add up) other moms and their kids miss.

5) If child must make an oral presentation to accompany report, make sure son/daughter has gone over all text and pictures and understands what you’re saying. Quiz him/her so presentation is believable. HINT: Use big words sparingly. Four or five syllable words should be sprinkled here and there, not in every line.

6) Accept grades gracefully. One of my worst memories of last year was when my book report came back with a 90%. The teacher didn’t feel as though I understood the story properly. Hey lady, yeah you, teaching my kid, I’m a novelist. A former high school English teacher. I’ve taught Bill Shakespeare and my pals Dickens and Chaucer. Of course I understood the book and I did answer all the questions. Correctly. Thoroughly. With originality. I deserved a 100%.


I hate getting anything less than 100% on my son’s work. I’m a straight A student, even if my kid isn’t.

Maybe I need to go back downstairs and add another letter to the editor and classified ad to his newspaper style book report. After all, you don’t want anyone to think your child doesn’t excel in school.

Besides, their education isn’t about them. It’s about you. It’s important everyone knows you’re a good mom and you care.

Even if its a little too much.

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