How To Cheat on Home Reading

My eight-year-old son has been cheating on his home reading.

How is that possible? you might ask.

Well, he’s been yelling “blah-blah-blah” instead of recording the online book into the computer like he’s supposed to.

How is it possible that he’s been doing this for six weeks and you never noticed? you might ask.

Well, he’s been progressing levels. He’s now reading at level L. When he started Grade 3 in September, he was at level J. So I assumed he was reading. Plus, I was kind of finishing off my manuscript and checking Twitter.

Right. But how is it possible you never noticed he was reading—and I quote—”blah, blah blah”? 

Well, I tend to send him into the library with his dad’s laptop to do his home reading. You see, he first listens to this computerized-voice reading the book aloud to him. That voice makes me feel like smashing my head into our picture window. So, I send him away to do it and keep the window—and my head—intact.

Wait a minute. He cheated on his home reading in your home “library”? 

I know. It’s ironic. My blog is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Aren’t you an English teacher and don’t you kind-of teach reading? 

Yes. Irony. I believe that’s been established.

How did you finally discover your son was cheating? 

The wireless connection on his dad’s laptop wasn’t working, so he asked me to fix it. I told him I wanted to hear him read aloud a bit. Then I realized that his dad’s computer didn’t have a built-in microphone. Ergo, reading aloud into the non-existent microphone was impossible. Ergo, he confessed.

Then what happened? you might ask.

He begged that I wouldn’t tell his dad or his teacher. I didn’t. I take these matters seriously.

So he asked you not to tell, and you blogged about it?

Yes. I’m hoping his teacher and my husband won’t read this post.

From where does he get this propensity to cheat? 

Of course, he gets most of his negative traits from his father. But I may have cheated in Grade 9 Home Ec.

You cheated in Home Ec? Not Chem, not Physics, but Home Economics?

Yes. It was the knitting unit.

Wait. You cheated at knitting? How? 

I knit the first slipper. It was horrible, and my entire family witnessed my lack-of-dexterity outbursts, which may have involved threatening to stab someone with a size 7 knitting needle.

What happened to the second slipper? 

My mom knit it. In one night.

Your mom? She colluded with you?

Yes. She offered. We got an “A.” The teacher said I showed great improvement.

Are you still blaming your son’s cheating on his home reading on his dad? you might ask.

Umm . . . should I call my lawyer?

Your turn:
Have you ever cheated? helped someone cheat? witnessed it?


  1. Trish Loye Elliott says

    Too funny! I once cheated at home ec too. Maybe cheated isn’t the right word. Sabotage might be better. The class had to make homemade pasta one day (a test) and I didn’t know how so I took the bowl of eggs for the whole class to ‘hand them out’. Then I accidentally emptied it onto the floor and then dropped the bowl on top. In my mind cleaning up the egg mess had been worth getting out of the test.
    Funny… I still failed Home Ec. Shhhh. Don’t tell my husband.

  2. says

    I guess that’s one of those times when you have to admire their craftiness :) Just last night my other half was looking at an assignment one of the kids has been given, and you could see the cogs turning… I said “it’s supposed to be HER project”…

  3. says

    I plead the 5th as my reply. Although, there have been times … Nope. No. I plead the 5th. 😉 I’ll just offer this ‘observation’. When children have writing assignments that they want their mother to print for them and their mother is a writer, it can accidentally happen that maybe some proofreading and editing happen, almost entirely and completely without the mother even being aware. It’s a mystery.

  4. says

    I like to think of it more as collaboratively learning since my partner knew I hadn’t done my vocabulary homework for English and agreed to let me copy his definitions. He was helping me. *ahem*

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me every Friday before 8th period for all of 11th grade, Lenna. Yours, Renna.
    PS: When I became an English teacher, I made my students do vocabulary in a different way, but I finally had to learn the words, too — for real.

    Meanwhile, I am NOT surprised at William’s “blah-blah-ing” his way through his English readings. I am surprised Viv didn’t bust him first.

  5. says

    Does the mother proofreading assignments count as cheating??

    In that case I am in big trouble! I must have cheated on all my written work since highschool! It was just normal in my house to have mum proofread an assignment before you handed it in.

    Although perhaps its in the technique? My mum would make changes in pen on a printed paper and then we had to make the changes ourselves in the original document. I really think that helped teach me to be a better writer and I never ever considered it cheating…

    What do you think?

  6. says

    I also cheated my way through swimming lessons. I would put my face in the water when the teacher was watching. I still swim front crawl with my face either completely in the water (taking no breaths), or completely out of the water.

  7. alisewrite says

    In college, one of my music history classes had a lot of listening assignments. I did not love listening to and analyzing medieval music, so my friend and I agreed to split up the list and each do half, and then share our answers with one another. This meant that we had nearly identical papers.

    I got an A and she got a B. So cheating paid off for at least one of us.

  8. says

    This post made my day so much funnier!

    I used to write all English essays for a friend at school. Note that I’m from Finland, so English is a foreign language and my friend just didn’t get it. So, I wrote them for her and she put in a few mistakes so we wouldn’t get caught.

  9. says

    Cheating? Oh, Leanne. Let’s call it what it should be called. Creative Sneakiness. In my youth, I saved my creative sneakiness for breaking ignoring unreasonable rules set by parents who were more tightly laced than Scarlett’s corset. My fake babysitting job (for the woman with a long Polish last name I couldn’t remember how to spell, so no one could look her up) served me well.

    High School? I loved math, chemistry and all things math and logic related, and became quite popular in those classes. One kid, who was nice, but dumber than a tile of speckled linoleum counted on me turning my chemistry tests in his direction so he could copy my answers. The teacher eventually made me sit in a back corner of the room by myself during tests.

    Second round in High School? I married a 17YO stepson when I married his dad. I used to come home to notes on papers due THE NEXT DAY on light reading like Shakespeare. I know his English teacher knew he wasn’t writing those papers, but I think both she and I knew he deserved to graduate despite raging hormones. The only one he wrote himself was a “how to” paper. He chose “Field Dressing a Deer.” The first paragraph described suspending the deer by its antlers and then making a long cut. He was quite descriptive. I couldn’t read past the first paragraph. Apparently, Mrs. Munroe couldn’t either. She gave him an “A”.

    I LOVE Williams’ ingenuity, but really….??? He loves to read, right?

    • says

      I wish I wrote this line: “rules set by parents who were more tightly laced than Scarlett’s corset.” Funny. Of course, I’m glad my parents were fairly liberal.

      I want to read the “Field Dressing a Deer.” It reminds me a bit of Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess’) memoir, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.”

  10. says

    I cheated in home ec, too. With that “Carry the egg around for a few days like it’s a baby!” thing. I’d built a 100% Guaranteed No Way This Could Backfire On Me In A Poetic Commentary on Hubris indestructible case for it. And then…

  11. says

    On Tuesday, I got an email from my son’s teacher: “tomorrow will be our Thanksgiving feast, please send your child to school in their pilgrim costume.” After fully interrogating my son to establish that “their pilgrim costume” was NOT something they made at school nor something previously mentioned . . . ever; I realized that his teacher assumed that I either had a pilgrim costume on hand or was able to “whip one up.” Neither of which is true. So how did I cheat? I told my son that Nike Frees came over on the Mayflower and Volcom was Old English for “nice shirt.” Maybe we should move to Canada where they don’t dress their children like Pilgrims nor eat cranberries from a can.

  12. says

    Sure I’ve cheated, haven’t we all? I was one of those moms who would practically do the entire science project herself, instead of insisting the kid do it. One year my daughter had mono and couldn’t lift her head off the pillow for 3 months. She was in danger of losing her whole Grade 11 semester, so I read her “The Picture of Dorian Grey” ALOUD, then “WE” wrote the final paper on it. Okay, okay, I wrote it, asked her if she agreed with it, and she nodded. We got a B minus. I was very upset with her English teacher. Stupid bitch. But I couldn’t exactly complain, could I?

  13. says

    I confess. I helped someone cheat in high school. He hated to read. I loved to read. (I also had a crush on his brother.) So I did his book report. But he got caught. They suspected he didn’t even know where the library was in school. (I don’t think they suspected me. I read 100 books in a school year – mostly just for fun.)

  14. says

    Now that I pulled myself up off the floor from laughing hysterically, I have to tell you, your son may be a 3rd grade genious! 😉 He completely deserves browny points for creativity. He will head a company someday with that brain of his! Thanks for the great post, it made my night!

  15. says

    Hilarious. I pretty much assume these days that kids will try the easy way out. A lot of us did when we were growing up!

    Not me, of course. I honestly never cheated. Not once. But I did get accused of cheating by my senior English teacher who singled me out in class, yelled at me, and made me cry. I changed classes and teachers. Years later, I discovered that my parents–who NEVER took my side with school–had called and got me moved. Yeah for them. And phooey on that stupid teacher who should know now that I write a blog about grammar and words, so NO, I did NOT cheat on a vocabulary assignment, you obnoxious twit. Just sayin’.

  16. says

    Is Raz kids required for his school? I use it in my class, but it’s optional… I ask them to read nightly, and they can use raz-kids if they want, instead of regular books. What I hate is that some kids have it figured out for maximum star accumulation – that apparently if you BS through the tests and click anything you can read more stories and get more stars or something? I don’t even know (and i’m the teacher!!) I just want them to read!

    • says

      It seemed to be required last year (Gr 2) but is optional this year, though all kids are registered. William tends to keep redoing the quizzes until he gets them all right. He hasn’t figured out the BS-way… which is kind of hilarious. And a bit sad, too!

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