Taking Stock - November 25, 2013

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Back in my day homework was very much a pen and paper affair.

I still remember those hours spent, a pile of textbooks by my side, my trusty fountain pen leaking ink on anything within a 30m radius, ready to launch headlong into a 2,000 word essay on kings of Sweden and how they ended up, for a while, as top nation.

It was all very simple.

You read it in the book, you wrote it on the page, you handed it in and waited for the inevitable disappointment.

These days the internet has made things very different.

My daughter has a homework book and we still use it for sums and spelling.

But a lot of the learning she does at home is on the internet.

It’s all very education by stealth – games rather than lessons.

But at least I supppose if you’re doing things online there’s fewer excuses for handing work in late or not at all.

The dog –that much maligned friend of the forgetful schoolboy – is surely no longer a factor.

Or is it?

I overheard a snippet of conversation in the playground the other day which made me chuckle with delight.

It seems one parent was complaining about the lack of an internet connection at home.

They’d tried the normal fixes, expressly turning it off and turning it on again but to no avail.

Only when they realised nobody had called them on the phone for two days did they realise something more sinister was at play.

Had the wind brought down the lines?

Were the secret services preparing to launch a midnight raid?

No – a quick investigation in the back yard quickly 
uncovered the truth, a phone cable running down the wall of the house with what looked very much like bite marks all along the lower reaches.

There could only be one culprit, one thing responsible for severing communications and ensuring that homework went unfinished.

Dogs might not be able to eat homework any more but, it seems, right now our canine adversaries still have the upper hand.