Hey Teachers! Please Don’t Give My Kids This Homework!
There are a lot of homework assignments I like to do with my kids. I actually enjoy the take home projects and my obsessive-type personality likes giving the kids practice spelling tests and helping them with math problems.
However, there are certain assignments that just seem like they are devised to torture me. There are 3 in particular that are irking me this year so far:
Play Outside. This year Number 3’s teacher has been assigning “Play Outside” as homework everyday. Diligently Number 3 copies this down. I know this assignment makes the teacher a favorite with the kids, but it lowers her on my list. After an afternoon and evening of mucking stalls, driving to and from every god-forsaken activity under the sun, making dinner, doing homework, cleaning them up enough to be presentable for the next day, reading books and tucking in, the last thing I need is Number 3 getting out of bed to bemoan to me that he hasn’t done all of his homework. Often I start to panic until he finishes with, “I didn’t play outside today.” Please, I know it makes you a cool teacher, but have pity on the poor parents trying to explain to an 8-year-old that he doesn’t really need to go outside to play at 8:45 at night because it is his homework.
Reading Logs. Reading logs are the bane of my school-year existence. I get why teachers assign reading logs. But my kids are great readers and reading logs MAKE THEM READ LESS! I get so frustrated when I see one of my children, who would ordinarily think nothing about picking up a book and reading for fun, start stressing about recording the time and page they start, setting a timer for the required amount of time, then diligently stopping and recording the ending time and page.
And this year – Number 1, who is in 7th grade, was told that he needs to read a total of 35 pages A WEEK. Are you kidding me? This kid will easily read 100 pages a day on his own. Thanks for lowering the bar for my under-achieving son. Last week he actually recorded on 2 separate days that he read for 5 minutes. When I told him this was unacceptable he flaunted that he only had to read 35 pages a week. So now at home we have to set the teacher’s expectations and my expectations.
Anything I Have to Sign. I know it should be simple to add my John Hancock to a piece of paper. But I am about as good at signing my name on an assignment as I am at being the tooth fairy (my children all understand that it can take the tooth fairy up to 3 nights to get to our house).
Most of the assignments that need my signature are usually assignments that require several days worth of work (like reading logs – double whammy!) – and therein lies the problem. Here is how it unfolds:
Child and parent sit down at the beginning of the week and I see the paper that needs to be signed. On principle, I refuse to sign until the work is done. We make a plan for how to finish the work throughout the week. The child does the work. I see that the work is done, but it is now at the end of the week, and I am thrashing through our busy days just trying to make it to the weekend. I never sign the paper. Child turns in assignment. Child loses points because the loser parent didn’t sign the sheet. Child chastises parent. I remind child that it is his/her responsibility to make sure all the work is complete and that he/she should have reminded me to sign. Child insists they did ask me but I wasn’t paying attention (e.g. I was chasing goats off the deck, burning dinner and settling a dispute between 2 other kids while child shouted from across the room that I needed to sign something). Repeat again next week.
I am sure there are other assignments that will drive me crazy throughout the year. How about you – which assignments could you do without?