Another thing that confuses the Hell out of John and Elly during most of the Middle Years is the fact that Mike and Liz seem to be barely treading water grade-wise. If I might be allowed a pun, their grades are usually stuck at C level. While the two of them talk a good game about how homework is meant to get people ready for the more structured life that they'll have as adults, what seems to escape them is that they could do more than simply lecture and berate and blame television. For instance, they could set a better example by not being disorganized idiots in their own right. The one thing that I associate with Elly is her racing around trying to do a million unnecessary things at once in the firm belief that she has to do so to be taken seriously. Another thing they could do is not audibly complain about how overloaded they are; all that does is teach the kids that they aren't old enough to complain about their lot in life and that helps nothing.