The Homework Struggle - A short story

The Homework Struggle – A short story

The Homework Struggle – A short story

First, “Finish your reading worksheets Neel”, said mom.

Next, “No”, replied Neel curtly.

Further, she said, “It is just two worksheets. It will take hardly twenty minutes”, mom tried to reason out.

Then, “Nooooooooooo”, bellowed Neel.

Finally she said, “Finish your work,  later you can have fun!”, asserted mom.

Then, Neel could not control his anger. Moreover, he threw his gadget on the floor.

But, Mom kept quiet. Then, she walked away.

Next, Neel continued to play with his gadgets.

Finally, after a while, mom got a chart. On the chart was a table. Neel was familiar with the Reward Chart Table. Furthermore, the table had tasks listed on it;  the list of tasks he is supposed to do for the day. Therefore, if he completes the task, he earns his rewards.

Next, Mom put a red stripe on the column marked against a task “English worksheet”.  Then, Neel understood. In other words, he gets three chances before he agrees to finish his work. If not, he misses his chance and loses his reward points.

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So, he is well aware of the system by now. Moreover, his teachers adopt the same approach at school. Also, Eliza follows the same chart at the therapy center. Also, at home, mom uses a similar chart to make sure his work is done on time.

Something inside him refuted the chart. “Why should someone else decide what I should do?”, he thinks.

Mom was quietly carrying on with her work. Neel knew that she was watching him through a corner of her eye. A part of him did not want to lose his chance to go to the park. The other part of him resisted control. 

He decided to do things his way and continued to play with his gadget. He knew his mom was going to pop up the question again very soon.

Then, Mom wondered if there is any chance he would come back and finish his work himself. Because the assignment had to be submitted tomorrow. Nevertheless, she decided to broach the topic later. Moreover, things would get flared up if she approaches him now. In other words, meltdowns and tantrums are hard to manage.

“It is a tricky business”, she thought to herself, “getting the work done without an objection”.

But, she had tried different techniques before.  Similarly, like every other mother, she too had got exasperated. Furthermore, she had tried being firm with him. Additionally, she had raised her voice to show who is the boss. But, that backfired really bad.

Neel would exhibit anger one moment, and the next second he would become a cry baby. So, he would meltdown and cry. She would then hug him and comfort him. It seemed too much of an ordeal to get a single task done.

She then asked Neel’s teachers and therapists for help. The therapists talked to him regarding his work. Neel would readily listen to his teachers and therapists. He would do the work assigned to him both in school and the therapy center, albeit at a much slower pace.

Further, out of 10 worksheets in a day, only two of them would get completed at school. Mom was really getting worried.

Neel would come home tired by evening. He only wanted to relax. Mom understood that. She gave him enough time to recuperate,  cooked his favorite snack, let him play, and also watch his choice of TV Programs.

But when mom asked Neel to do any work, be it school work or some chores, the response was very strong. Moreover, all he wanted to do was to chill out. Home is a safe haven for him, where he is comfortable and is free to do things on his own accord.

When he was young, mom could lure him with some yummy snacks or his favorite toys. But as days passed by, he was getting smarter with his rebuttals.

Coming out of her reverie, mom looked at Neel again. Neel was busy playing with his iPad. Mom put the board before him, ready to mark the second stripe.

Neel was in no mood to give in. He continues to play with the gadget. When he saw mom coming up with the red marker, he walked away from his place.

He went to his room and shut the door.

Mom realized that it is futile to put the third stripe on the chart. She simply took away the reward points for the day. Neel was going to miss his swing time at the park.

An hour ticked by. Neel’s little sister came out running. It was time to go to the park. Their friends will be waiting to play.

Neel came out of the room and got ready to wear his shoes. His mom looked sternly at him. Neel looked at his mom briefly and then at the chart. He saw the three stripes glaring at him. He understood.

“No swing time”, he yells. He slammed the shoes on the floor and looked at his mom pleadingly.

Mom didn’t look into his eyes. She walked away into the kitchen. Neel followed his mom. “Mom, please”.

Mom didn’t answer. Neel sobbed uncontrollably.  Her heart went out for her son.

“We could have avoided all this Neel. If only, you had listened to me”.

Neel didn’t understand. All he wanted now was his swing time. He cannot miss it. He kept pleading with mom repeatedly. At the end of the episode, both Neel and mom were exhausted.

Neel’s dad came back home tired after work. They all spent some time watching their favorite shows on television.

By night, the work is not yet complete. Mom got really worried about how to get the work done from Neel and asked dad for help.

Neel’s dad came up with an idea.

“Hey Neel, I have got some work to do. But I don’t want to do it alone. Can you give me company?”, he asked.

“Ok”, Neel said, “How about mom and Indu?”

“I will ask them also to come and give us company”, he said.

Mom came and sat at her workspace promptly but convincing Indu to work was an altogether different matter.

Neel’s dad asked Indu to do an activity of her choice, drawing. All four of them sat in the room to finish the work. Neel’s mom was relieved to see him at least start working on his worksheets.

“How long should I do these worksheets?”, Neel asked casually.

“Till You finish them”, mom answered.

“How long will it take for me to finish?”, Neel questioned back.

“It depends on how fast you work on it Neel”, mom responded.

After few minutes, Neel asked, “What are the plans for the weekend?”

Mom answered, “Let’s finish the work and we will talk about it”.

Neel threw the pencil on the floor.

Picture: The Homework Struggle – A short story 

Dad said, “Let’s all stay quiet and get the work done”.

Dad then brought up the chart and listed all the four names on it.

“A red stripe for anyone who talks out of their turn and a green for those who complete their task”, he announced.

Mom agreed. Indu was engrossed in her artwork. Mom began typing very fast. Dad was finishing his office work. Neel looked around. He also started working on his sheets.

“I am done”, Indu said after a while.

Mom went and put a green stripe against her name on the chart.

Neel looked up, “What will she get as a reward?”, he questioned.

“You finish your work Neel”, Indu quipped.

Mom looked up. “I  will let you know once he finished”. She ruffled his hair and went back to her work.

Neel finally finished his worksheets.

“Done”, he said.

Mom sighed a breath of relief.

She put a green stripe against his name and gave them both a warm hug and a much-deserved glass of hot chocolate.

“Let us do a family work time every day”, dad said.

“We will all work at the same time and complete our work”.

“Yay, yes. Let’s do it together”, Indu shouted in excitement.

“Let’s do it. What say Neel?”, Mom asked.

“Yes, It’s fun. Let’s do it together”, answered Neel.


The Homework Struggle – A short story. Leave us a comment if you found this story useful!

Read more: A short story 2 

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Anantha Rusum
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  • Kannavi Bhushan

    Good story and the idea behind is very creative , useful for every mother who is after her kid for finishing assignments daily ! Keep up the work n keep coming more ! All the best

  • Taniya

    Good story and the idea behind it is quite original, valuable for any mother who is constantly on the lookout for her child’s homework completion! Keep up the good work and keep sending more! Best wishes

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