Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whose Homework is This Anyway? -- by Cara

I’m tired of my son’s elementary school. And he just started first grade. I’m still getting over being tired of it from last year, when my son was in Kindergarten. What am I so tired about? Homework. And not just the part of homework that my son has to complete, but the endless, detailed instructions that the PARENTS (read: Mothers) have to complete in order for their child to correctly complete their assignments.

Take, for instance the buldging workbook that came home yesterday along with three different assignments! Supposedly, from what I can gather after reading the instructions on one of the assignments a half dozen times, I am supposed to copy certain “sight words,” preferrably on colored paper, and hang them up all over my house, make “flash cards” of these “sight words,” and run around after my child, while he is home, holding up these cards or pointing to the words hung up in each room and “quiz” him on these particular words! I also have to glue a smaller set of these words in a “Word Wall Book” with the instructions,”Be CAREFUL! Don’t glue the pages together!” What? Am I now in first grade too?!

I don’t get it. I am more than happy to assist my son with writing words, helping him read simple books, and suggest illustrations to complement what he wrote. But all of this copying, taping, pasting...who realistically has time for this in today’s world? And I have just one child! What do parents do who have several children, all of who’s teachers are requesting what will probably amount to an hour’s worth of time copying, cutting, taping and pasting too?! And to top it all off, we were reprimanded! Although it was not stated anywhere in the detailed instructions that all of this had to be handed in the next day, we were sent home a note reminding us that we were supposed to return the pasted,“Word Wall Book” AND the three other lengthy assignments the next day! Tisk, tisk on us! We also didn’t get to hang up “sight words” or make flash cards either! Oh, for shame!!

Last year, at the beginning of school, the Kindergarten teacher asked us to buy a two pocket folder. The PARENTS were given 2 weeks to cover the entire folder, front and back with photos that our children would use in order to create “stories” which would be presented back to us at the end of the year. This little project took me, all totalled, two HOURS to complete! Since our home color copier was not working very well, I had to upload some 20 to 25 photos to an internet photo website where copies were printed and mailed back. I even had to upgrade the cost of shipping to Second Day Priority, so that I would have time to do the SECOND part of this exciting project! Once I received the photos, I then had to group similar photos together, then cut and paste them all over both sides of this “Creativity Folder!” I spent so much time on this thing I took photos of it! And guess what? My son did not use one photo grouping to write his “stories!” I personally spent two hours over two weeks preparing this rediculous folder only to find that my son didn’t want to write about the photos! He had his own creative agenda. Can you say, TOTAL waste of time, money and energy?!

So guess what I am NOT going to do this year? I am NOT going to make colored “site word” cards and place them all over my house. I am NOT going to be making any flash cards and chase my son around, asking him what each card says. And I am NOT playing “Memory Game” every single night to help foster “sight word” recognition, as my child’s teacher puts it, “in a snap!” No, I am not going to do any of that. Unless my son’s teacher would like to come to my home each evening and make my family’s dinner, do the dishes, get lunches ready, put in a load of laundry and also feed and walk my dogs. Well, then it is just not going to get done. Sorry, Ms. First Grade teacher. It is just NOT going to happen in this house!

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