Thursday, August 28, 2008

#46 Extra Homework

Korean Moms love extra homework. It is their weapon of choice. Homework is the gift that keeps on giving. They love the idea of it, they love giving it, and they love to see you suffering to finish it. If it makes you cry, or want to end it all, then they have done their job. To a Korean Mom, it is not enough that their child's school, whether public or private, gives obscene amounts of homework, projects, or summer assignments. I repeat, it is never enough. They also do not understand why school is only five days a week; it should be seven days a week plus holidays. In fact, there should be a national holiday called 'Suprise Extra School Day' where Korean Moms get to 'suprise' their unsuspecting offspring with an extra day of school. Fun. Every time a Korean Mom somewhere screams at their child to finish those extra 50 vocab worksheet on top of their school work, an angel gets it's wings. Did you begin studying for your SATs when you were 10? There, there, don't cry...you are not alone.


Because of the educational delinquency that is America, Korean Moms have taken it upon themselves to make, prepare, and administer extra homework; and if they cannot, they will hire some poor starving college kid to do it for them. Korean Moms thank God everyday for places like Kumon, Sylvan Learning Center, and private tutors. It is secretly every Korean Mom's dream for their child to finish the highest book/letter level at their local Kumon center. To be able to brag to other Korean Moms 'Susie finished level 'H' in Kumon yesterday...aigoo...she doesn't sleep or eat, she only studies hard' is a dream come true. When I finally got the courage up to tell my Korean Mom I wanted to quit Kumon after level 'D', she looked at me like I had just told her I have a second butt hole that poops peppermints, then proceeded to give me Stank Eye. Quitting is not an option. It is not even a word.

Korean Moms do not simply want you to do extra homework, they want you to do it fast. They want you to be the Michael Phelps of Math or the SATs. If you cannot do long division at lightening speed and in your head, you are 'special', the bad kind of 'special'. Yes, that's right...I said it...you know your Korean Mom was already thinking it. Once my Korean Mom caught me using my fingers to count. She threatened to cut them off. I also hated riding in the car with my Korean Mom because as she would drive, she would randomly shout multiplication at me, 'What a beautiful day...What's 4x3?!! Bballee! Bballee! - Faster Faster! - What you want to eat? 5x7?!! Why so slow?!!" A few times I peed a little out of fear. I peed a little just now typing this.

66 comments:

AmyB said...

Exactly. But ask them for help on your vocabulary, spelling, or English test...and you get, "Do youuuu speaky two languagie perperectly??"

Your blog makes me feel SANE! I thought I was the only one...

Julie said...

After reading that, all these memories came flooding back to me! I need a hug. Or a drink.

mike.koo said...

I can't stop laughing. Thanks for the great post.

=]

Charming Handle said...

Ohhh yes, this takes me back. I had to do math classes during the summer for summer school because my mom wanted me to get ahead. I took Algebra 1 in the summer between 6th and 7th grades and continued on from there.

BTW, since there was no Algebra 1 class for my age at the time, I had to take it as a UCLA Extension course with college students. That was "fun"!

And did anyone else's mom make them also do scales on their musical instrument of choice 50 times a day? Yowza!

Anonymous said...

When I was 8, my mom did not let me come out of my room until I had memorized my multiplication tables up to 12x12. I was tired, hungry and depressed; I cried that deep gasping/heaving cry but she didn't care. But it worked. I excelled in math throughout the rest of my schooling. I love my sadistic KM.

Anonymous said...

oh wow.....flashbacks of multiplication flash cards....

Ben said...

oh man the flash cards.

also, when my mom was "helping" me with my fractions, she would call 1/2, "one-twoths". i fucking said that in class, man!

Koo said...

Haha. I know a bunch of people who make tons of money from crazy Korean moms and their unfortunate children. Undertapped goldmine right there.

Anonymous said...

You are a genius.

Su Won said...

When I was young and naive, I thought these math, writing, and word workbooks my mom gave me were kinda fun. Then I went to school, discovered the horrible truth that is homework, and felt like a duped pawn forever more.

hmmm said...

I love reading your blogs. They totally crack me up, because I thought my mom was the only one like that! Like when she says "waste money" Hilarious!

enygma said...

I am counting on this to make a living until I figure out what I want to do. This latter part is driving my own KM crazy. Hee.

Anonymous said...

To the writer of this blog....
Do you have any children? I bet you DON'T. Wait until what your kids will write about you. I agree to some of your storeis but not all of them. You should NOT say Korean moms. You should refert this story to your mom. That's more acrutate. How many moms do you really have anyway?

Anonymous said...

KMs don't understand why the US doesn't mandate school after school (hagwon). In Korea, EVERYONE goes to hagwon... several hagwons even! Hagwon is technically optional, but it's practically grounds to call Korean Child Protective Services if you don't go. Oh wait, there is no CPS in Korea b/c Korean parents are always right.

Anonymous said...

not my korean mom but my KOREAN DAD used to make me do military style multiplication tables when i was 6 or 7 years old!! he'd give me like a sheet of 100 to memorize while he was at work during the summer and i used to DREAD his return home... cuz i'd have to face the wall while standing on a stool with my pant legs rolled up and recite them without missing a beat... and when I DID--WHACK!! needless to say, i was the king of multiplication tables in third grade. my little construction paper hot air balloon left for the land of division before anyone else's did.

Anonymous said...

this blog is as acrutate as it gets and it makes me love my KM more than ever.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

This could actually have been my Indian Dad, who made me (age 8) learn the multiplication tables all the way up to 40x40 (this, when the rest of the class only got as far as 12x12), and who tried to make me learn every single word in the Oxford English Dictionary, going alphabet-wise (he failed, of course. But I still know large chunks of the 'A' section off by heart).
Despite all the crying and cursing of those days, I'm actually a wee bit grateful for the fact that I rock at mental calculations. Though Asian parents in general (East Asian or not) can be certifiable.

Your KM's Friend's Son said...

To the angry anon. up there:
Mate, chill really. It's all a big laugh, so I wonder why you take these entries so seriously. Oh, I'm sure you've never generalized about a group of people in duration of your life, so it's all fair. Of course, some of these entries are hard to relate, as I feel it's very America-centric (how about 'Stuff Korean-American Mums Like?'). Besides, I assume surely you've never seen the blog 'Stuff White People Like,' which sprouted many other blogs like this one in the same vein? Go figure.

(Hopefully, this is not a 'disrespectful' comment by Chiyo's standard.)

In regards to the post:
I'm sure many of you also experienced hagwons during school breaks/vacations, as KMs would shamelessly contribute their hard-earned earnings toward hagwon owner's benefit. One thing that is forbidden in the Korean culture is any type of break for children. No matter how (un)productive you may be, hagwon attendance is mandatory during vacations. Looking back though, I kind of understand, as few kids are really motivated to learn; given no other options, they'll end up doing stupid things...

ngf said...

i didn't need a parent to push me...i just needed one to believe in me...

i am second born son...

Anonymous said...

"an angel gets it's wings"

That should be "its."

If you did more homework, you would know this. :)

AmyB said...

Anon: wrong, dumbass. You use an apostrophe to form possessives of nouns. "The angel's wings."

You're KM obv failed you.

Anonymous said...

Actually, amyb, "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has."

And "its" is the possessive adjective and possessive pronoun form of the personal pronoun "it."

So it should be: "an angel gets its wings," not "an angel gets it is/has wings."

(It's a common mistake. Feel free to look things up yourself before calling people dumbasses.)

Anonymous said...

Okay, first I must say that the comments are getting a little ridiculous. (Although it IS its, not it's. But who cares? And yes, I just started THREE sentences with a conjunction. Kill me.)

Secondly, your KM must be much nicer than mine, because if mine read all of this and knew it was about her, she would pout and give the silent treatment for a very, very long time. Then would come the violent, ear-piercing screams and threats to kill herself (or at least begging for God to kill her) and lots of Korean words that I don't know. Trade ya?

Anonymous said...

"Although it IS its, not it's. But who cares?"

Since this post is about homework and studying, this mistake is a little bit more embarrassing than it would be otherwise.

As I said, it's a common mistake. If you get it right, it sets you apart from the plebeians (like the Oxford comma).

Just trying to help out a fellow Korean. Isn't it nice to learn something?

I do also want to say that this blog rocks. I laughed until I cried. And yet, my KM is nothing like this. (Except for saving the wrapping paper.)

Anonymous said...

This rings true for me as well. My KM would write out pages of multiplication and long division problems for me to do on Saturdays when I was at her gah-geh...I was 6. Unfortunately, this only inspired a deep loathing of mathematics in me, so deep that I became a liberal arts major!

Anonymous said...

Hey amyb,

"You're KM obv failed you."

That should be "your."

Did you flunk 1st grade grammar?

Aigo!

seitzk said...

*years of repressed memories come flooding back*

KUMON!!!!

JKL said...

I had a tutor since grade school, including a mean SAT Korean tutor who yelled at me and lots of FOB tutors my mom would cut fruit for. I am also a recovering graduate of the Sylvan Learning Center. You would think I was a special needs child with all the tutoring I got.

Joanna said...

My brother and I had a convo the other day saying that we both used to love Math until my KM made us both go to KUMON on Saturday mornings when the rest of the kids got to do stuff like girl scouts and play basketball.

I can do multiplication and long divison like nobody's business still, but other forms of math escape me... I've put up a mental block!! :)

But even if I did have to be up by 7AM to make the KUMON class on Sat mornings... And SAT prep classes starting from the 8th grade, absolute love to my KM who did the best she could to raise us in a country that was absolutely foreign to her. As she kept saying to me - math has no language barriers, it's the same where ever you go.

Anonymous said...

Wow... my mom was never like that, EVER, when it came to homework or school work, thank God. Although, she's a lot like some of the entries you wrote about. Thanks for the great, hilarious blog. =)

Anonymous said...

LOL My KM was reading this with me, and she claims that she asked me multiplication questions just for it to be "more fun". Heh.. Well, it definitely wasn't, if you ask me. T^T

bindc said...

I love it! The part where the KM brags "(Susie) doesn't sleep or eat, she only studies hard...." is the best! I hear my KM AND my KD saying this exact phrase um, let's see, since I can remember.

"Bam-jung kaa gee kong-bu hae" All through the night, she studies. HA!!!

rebecca said...

HAHAHA, omg you are freakin' hilarious! (first time visitor)I love it!

And readers, we don't need to be so nitpicky about grammatical errors. It's just a blog.

Yum said...

Oh Kumon. I used to hide pages and say I "lost" them, feign sickness, steal the answer guide...anything to avoid doing those damn math packets.

That must be why I'm not in Stanford fulfilling my KM's ultimate dream.

Anonymous said...

i dunno if this has been done already (i didnt see it): korean moms and saunas (bath houses) and living there, eating, watching korean tv, scrubbing each other, etc.

Anonymous said...

GOLF should have been #1 on this list.

gee said...

This is the first time I have read your blog. I have to say, I literally laughed out loud, and I don't laugh out loud reading, watching TV, or movies. It takes alot to make me laugh out loud, and OH MY GOD!!! I was cracking up.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion for the next chapter.

Could you please include "Talking on cell phones?"

My oh-ma never gets off the phone or anything. She can spend upwards to 6 hours a day talking on the phone. If you want to narrow it down, Korean moms LOVE (not Like) T-Mobile. I know from experience.

Anonymous said...

Dear KMom Blogger, you are so brave--and we love you. I speak for your fan base in Seattle which consists of myself and my two cousins. Also the thirty friends in L.A. I emailed your link to.

Growing up in L.A. I also took that Algebra class at UCLA and a Korean College guy made a pass at me. I told my Mom and she laughed! She didn't try to protect me. I was in 7th grade.

BTW did you hear about the new Randy Newman song called Korean Parents? Seriously. Pull up the lyrics on Google and listen. The Korean parenting phenomenon has made oscar-award winner song-writing status.

Keep on truckin'. Viva La Raza.(I have to borrow a saying, because Koreans don't seem to have a saying of rebellion, or it was beaten out of me).

LA.SEATTLE

Anonymous said...

i could read and write and do math when i was four. i thought, everyone could do that. first day at school, i was the freaking only one!!! when all the other kids were playing outside, i was studying. my mom robbed me of my babyhood... but only thanks to her, i can out-math anyone except the ones trained by KMs...

jessicaaaapaek said...

my korean mom gave up on kumon for me when she realized that my inability to process math is even greater than that of a korean mom's desire to have a mathelete child.

she doesn't know what she did wrong in raising me. i have piercings and i retook algebra I freshman year in high school and failed geometry sophomore year.

it is actually possible to be more stubborn than a korean mom!

lilpandapaw said...

My co-worker (not Korean, but Chinese) is having her 8 year old son do Kumon...her son has already learned to go as slow as he can, to put off the advanced stuff as long as possible! LOL!

Literally, the most useful thing from Kumon was being able to figure out how much cheaper the clothing would be with the additional discount.

nan said...

love the kid in the photo. that look of utter concentration, lol!

Anonymous said...

I never went to hagwon or did extra homework, and I'm fine! I have the best route on the garbage man team and i get to drive the truck at least once a week. See she was wrong...oh no.
I love this blog, keep it up!

CHRISTINA (: said...

It's so odd how I've run into this blog the very day my mom refused to let me go out of the house, even, and then she gave me a bunch of math problems to solve, FROM MY OWN HIGHSCHOOL'S TEXTBOOK.

Ironic.

But it helps us all out in the end. (:

Anonymous said...

LOL!! I read this with my KM and we were both laughing so hard we were nearly crying. Man, it's been a long time since I've read anything this funny =D

susie said...

OMG.

That's me.

I made it!

My three minutes of fame!

Thanks darling.

Edward said...

I spent spring break (the whole freak'in week!) learning math in the house with my Korean mom. It was so painful watching the kids play in the neighborhood under the beautiful sun while I slaved over fractions and multiplication tables.

After break it all paid off. The school third grade genious was some girl named Patel. We had the same home room with a crazy Chinese teacher who made the smartest kid solve really long math problems on the chalk board.

Five kids in front slaving away at the chalk board... the white kids flame out when they can solve 13 digit long division problems. Me and Ms. Patel are grinding away at 22 digit long division problems and I smoked her! All thanks to my KM... ;)

Euni said...

I could be the top of my class with the perfect grades and an awesome sat score, my grandma still talks about the time I couldn't memorize the 7 times table back in 5th grade... Let it go, grandma, I took friggin calculus, okay?

My Korean parents were really chill and didn't send me to hagwons or Korean school or tutors... all of my korean friends were extremely jealous.

Anonymous said...

I remember being 8 and sneaking a calculator to do my multiplication homework quickly right before school started so I wouldn't be caught using my fingers/visual help to do it at home.

And then I got CAUGHT.

"Why don't you know your multiplication tables?!"

"We started learning it a few weeks ago!"

Ohhh yeah. Trauma times. :D

Berenice said...

LMAO!! I can just imagine them saying this!! hahahaha

I'm Mexican but I learned reading/writing/math when I was 4 years old and when I was older, my mom would drop me off at the library "for fun". When she picked me up, I had to have a stack of books checked out that I could read at home. And they had to be books that had to do with what I wanted to do when I grew up (dentist, doctor, etc...)

At home, I would WANT to do homework to get out of doing chores and would hide from her to read and do my homework.

She would also brag to her friends that my teacher told her that I would not go play at recess, instead I stayed inside reading or doing more work.... I don't remember that part. LOL!!

.angela. said...

haha! so funny and I can relate -_-;, when I was younger, I had to study study study -_-;;;
I learned cursive, multiplication, division by 1st grade. . .

Anonymous said...

I remember teaching 6-12 year olds at a "hagwon" in Korea, and having them ask me for more homework. I asked a 9 year old girl, who got three 10-word vocabulary sheets from each of her English classes, what her work/sleep schedule was like. She told me she went from public school until 3:10pm, then hagwons from 3:30pm until 12:00am, then homework from 1:00am-3:00am, then sleep. I don't know how these kids do it! I taught my high school kids the Western concept of free time and they were baffled "oh, is that when you stop at a PC방 to play computer games on the way to school?"

Anonymous said...

I read this to my Korean Mom and she was like, "who wrote this?? why are they making Korean moms sound so bad? homework is good for you!" then in an accusing tone, "did YOU write this??"

haha....i think if i had said yes she would have beat me with a stick!

Anonymous said...

"I read this to my Korean Mom and she was like, "who wrote this?? why are they making Korean moms sound so bad? homework is good for you!" then in an accusing tone, "did YOU write this??""

LMAO!!! AHAHAHAHHA that is hilarious!!
Korean moms ftw lol.

Anonymous said...

Listen, you guys are lucky! My BFF has a KM, and I always wished she was mine. I remember her getting beat by hangers because she didn't hang up her jeans correctly.. LOL.

I still love her though. She always feeds us when we come over, and its always the best food.

sol said...

LLMAOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
my mom used to RANDOMLY ambush me with multiplication questions too!!!!!!
and those four wheel drive cars with the "4x4" stamped on the back...whenever we'd stop behind it, I would always pray that she wouldn't look there. but it failed every time.
it's only scary when I was younger, because I was really slow in math.

JulieYeo said...

I sucked at math, science, the piano, and I have chosen to become a fine artist.

But this never stopped my mom from calling me over as she picked up my newborn brother, cradling him lovingly in all his boyhood glory, as she silently hissed at me, "3X8.."

I look for things I cannot relate to on your blog, and I have to say you have me and my friends' mothers down detail by detail. Except for Jesus, my mom is tradition Korean Shamanism.
Though.. I'm sure she feels she can relate.

You should do one about how KMs always freeze food. I write to you as I eat tuna salad sandwiched between two thawed and moist slices of bread.

Hope to read more, thank you for all the laughs and memory-induced tears.

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Elaine said...

Oh my goodness. Over the summer, I was not allowed to play with my friends throughout the entire day. First I had to play piano for one hour, and do 5 pages of math, reading, and writing wrokbooks each. She, too, was also all about yelling out random multiplication and spelling things. If I asked her to shut up, I got the stank eye.

비레마 said...

Dude, this is soooo true, I'm part Korean, and it's like Asian parents OD. Have to gt over a 95 and stuff~

Anonymous said...

While I believe Kumon, ECC, and Elite Institute are the second coming of the axis powers to extended learning. I have to say that I have some fond memories especially with Kumon. There'd always be that girl who didn't like being there, crushed by the red circles and low scores. After the third or so time of redoing her packet, she'd day dream only coming back to pick up her twirled pencil or to her KM's voice. That's when I'd plop down next to her and give her a smile and help her with some answers. Maybe scribble a doodle or jot down a convo to kill the time. As an elementary school kid, Kumon was the korean pickup spot. It was uniquely balanced between the muffled giggles of the japanese game show Silent Library and the happenstance of the market produce section. When both your mom's run late. BOOM, it's parking lot speed date. To any Korean kids currently in Kumon. If you're smart and even remotely funny. You are now the alpha male.

Anonymous said...

With your permission, I use your blog in my reading class for my freshmen. They learn a great deal of vocabulary and love the posts. I hardly had control of the class with the laughing over this one.

Then I assigned them some homework. Hehehe...
Ken in Daegu

unchienne said...

I think this is the first article I read that actually didn't coincide with my own life. My mother was never overly concerned about academics in our house. In fact, I went to college in spite of her protests. All she's ever wanted me to do get married (preferably to someone with money) and have babies.

moonlightmenuett said...

OMG!!! I remember how my mom always nags about how my (german) school doesn't give me enough homework while chatting to other KM and after she was SO shocked and heart broken from my b- in . . . *gasp* MATH! yeah . . . she gave me 4 pages of math problems of multiplication and division in 2nd grade.
And Summer vacation *shudder* means the time she can torture me of 3-4 hours of math from stuff i would learn a year later in my school and then 1 hour of korean grammar everyday . . . sweet memories

moonlightmenuett said...

I remember how my KM was so heart broken about the B- i got so she made me do 4 pages of multiplication and division in 2nd grade.
Oh and Summer vacation *shudder* the perfect chance to torture me with 4 hours of math and 1 hour of korean grammar and not to forget 1-2 hours of piano practice daily. um yeah I learned algebra and stuff like that when I was 9 :I . . . sweet childhood memories