Excuses for incomplete homework assignments are rarely great, but one little girl’s ‘dog at my homework’ note was so good, it’s been shared over a million times all over the internet.
Recently, Reddit user phomb shared a note they called the “best homework excuse ever.” It was written for a little girl named Maddie and said she didn’t get her homework done the previous night because her family was busy celebrating some really big news. When I first saw it, I assumed the news would be a pregnancy or engagement or something equally relatable, but I was wrong. Turns out Maddie’s grandfather won a Nobel Prize!
According to the Mirror, Maddie’s grandfather is none other than Tomas Lindahl, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last week, along with Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for their work on genetic repair. The note requested an extra day for Maddie to complete her assignment because her ecstatic family was no doubt celebrating Lindahl’s incredible accomplishment.
The Reddit user originally shared the note expecting some chuckles, but people were quick to lash out at the girl’s parents for treating her like a “special snowflake” and not expecting her to do her work. Wrote one, “Her grandfather is out winning Nobel prizes and she can’t even do her homework? Failure of the family.” The bash-fest only continued when the story got picked up by other sites. The discussion on PopSugar Moms is negative to the point of absurdity:
The discussion on Imgur, where the image originated, is not much better.
The funny thing is, homework is not even that big of a deal. According to a study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, the average elementary school student receives three times as much homework as is necessary for their age group. Even worse? Most of it isn’t really that helpful. Denise Pope, a Stanford University education professor told Today Parents, “The only type of homework that’s proven to be beneficial for elementary school students is free reading.”
Overall, too much homework causes stress and fatigue, and it can actually diminish kids’ enjoyment of school. It also eats away at family time, including important moments like the one described in this note. What’s really troubling, though, is the way viral posts like this one become these little reminders that we’ve completely lost the ability to just laugh together and cheer each other on. Having a grandparent win the Nobel Prize is a once in a lifetime event that few people will ever get to experience. Is homework really so crucial to future success that we need to tear that awesome family moment to shreds?
Missing a single night of homework is not going to hurt anyone, especially when the child in question is missing it to celebrate a brilliant and inspiring role model. School is important, but it shouldn’t get in the way of valuable experiences that impact a child’s real life. Homework will never be as cool or as significant as what just happened in this kid’s family, and it’s pretty awesome of her parents to carve out space for real learning experiences.