geeks on vacataion

I get my kids all week this week, so I took some time off work for “vacation.” But did I take them to Disneyland? No.

Amid hikes, home organization, a birthday (mine!), a wedding (not mine!), and a dozen other random things we have going, I challenged my kids to build a Pokémon Database.

That’s not a new challenge, by the way. But they hadn’t grokked databases before, and even now the tutorials online left them frustrated. So I sat them down with a pencil and paper and did my feeble best to explain them myself. Mind you, I’m no expert. But this time the lights went on. We jumped to a computer, and I showed them a super basic two-table example and how to do some different queries. They were astounded. Yay vacation!

After showing them what happens when you select fields from two tables without a where clause, which in our case indicated that everybody’s favorite ice cream is every single flavor:

M. “Wait… I could use that to solve those math problems where they make me list all possible combinations!”

E. “Yeah! And Order By is WAY easier than alphabetizing the old fashioned way!”

V. “Guys… you are NOT gonna make technology do your homework for you.”

They both sighed dramatically and stared at the screen.

I silently justified myself — surely the hours we spend every day doing menial tasks are worth it, right? Kids have to learn to be self disciplined enough to do busy work, right? And it’s not busy work anyway … it’s practice, right?

… right?

School, and its hours-on-end of repetitive homework, starts in just a few weeks now. Realizing that, I sighed too. E must have read my thoughts, and presently piped up:

“Honestly, the only homework I can’t stand is homework I could do faster with programming.”

I can’t concede this out loud, but the kid makes a fine point, and not just about homework. I mean, that’s why we program, right?

I don’t have another adult around for feedback, so I’ll ask you: what would you do?