Friday, September 10, 2010

Hey Teach, It's the KIDS in School

I cannot count the times that I have had homework. And I'm talking about as an adult. And not when I'm taking a class, but as a parent. I mean, really. Is it me? Am I wrong to think that the children should be the ones with homework, not me, the parent? I'm not even talking about the help you have to give your kid to do his/her homework. I'm talking about your homework, as a parent.

My first experience with parent homework was when my oldest son went into second grade. He had this really "artsy" teacher - totally a mismatch for him because he hated all things art. My second grader came home with a note (instructions) from the teacher and some card stock in his backpack. Apparently my task was to put together and decorate a "writing journal" to house my kid's creative streak. When I say "put together", think two pages of typed instructions with words like "sew" and "fabric". Really? Are you kidding me?

Now I'm all for creative writing. And pretty journals are nice too, I guess. But, to put this task on me? I'm not creative. I think the only person who has no appreciation of art more than my first-born is me, and this is my homework? I don't sew. I don't have "extra fabric" just laying around. I am the mom of boys. We have trucks. And cars. And Legos. And maybe some crayons and markers. I was livid. I sat and stewed and tried to think of any excuse imaginable to get out of it, cursing the whole time to my husband. He didn't really care because this sh!t doesn't land on him. No way, arts and crafts, that's a girl thing (no offense). I despised that teacher thoroughly and was ecstatic to learn that she retired last year. No longer do I have to worry that my youngest will end up in parent-homework hell. And, for the record, that was only the first of many parent homework projects that year.

This year my first grader came home with parent homework to create a collage of pictures of him and his family to help "inspire" his writing. More parent homework. Now, again, a worthy cause. And maybe on the surface it doesn't seem like much, but for me it was a challenge.

First, I didn't get the note til Sunday evening. My bad - I should've checked the kid's backpack prior to Sunday night. The next hurdle was figuring out where to get the pictures, no small task. We live in a digital world now. Gone are the days of drawers full of photos. Okay, I can't tell a lie. I do still have drawers of photos. They're the required school and soccer pictures, many years old, still in their paper sleeves. Those didn't seem very "inspiring" for a first grader.

It was at this point that I started stressing and cursing the teacher for parent homework. Homework hitting during the stress of it all. Single-parenting it, two back-to-school nights, product launches - the last thing I needed was unplanned homework. I have enough on my plate, thank you very much. So teacher, please, remember that it's the kids who need the homework, not the parents.
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