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A Work in Progress

alec vanderboom

The home school assignment was to draw a picture of an Inuit Igloo so that I can check off my Social Studies obligation to teach the concept that "Native People use different materials from their environment to build shelters."

My oldest daughter, Hannah, obediently starts the assignment at once.

"You can't see my drawing until I'm finished!" Alex pouts.

"Okay," I say.

After 10 minutes of great secrecy, Alex hands me a stunning example of portraiture. "What is this?" I ask.

"It's a picture of Tess!"

"That's a great drawing!," I say telling the complete truth. "We'll save that one for our Art section. Now we've got to do our Social Studies project now, honey, so Mommy has something to show your teacher."

More secrecy, more furious scribbling.

A second drawing is passed my way. There is a teeny tiny igloo in the center of a circle, a dark bridge crossing the circle with wavy lines (which I optimistically assume to be the frozen Arctic waters above). On the top is a pattern of strange circle patterns between vertical hatch marks.

"Interesting depiction, Alex! What are these?" I say, pointing to the weird pattern. "Is it Inuit carvings on walrus tusks!" I say enthusiastically.

"NO!" Alex answers. "That's the NOT sign."

That paper says how much I'm NOT going to do my igloo homework.

I counted up 18 NOT signs from my illiterate first grader and started howling with laughter.

Yeah, If anyone asks me in the future WHY I'm homeschooling, I'm showing them Alex's igloo drawing and saying "its because I still have too much pity for any teacher who'd have to pull work assignments out of my smart son."