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Tired of being a third grader

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tired of being a third grader

I admit it. When I taught second grade I was a big, big fan of home projects. I fought with administration to stay true to our homework policy which was study for spelling, read for 15 minutes and any unfinished work. When we switched math programs, a home link was added to that. I can't tell you how many parents complained that I did not give enough homework. I mean, even now that I am on the other side, were they insane??? Who asks for more homework? I hated grading it as a teacher and I hate helping with it as a parent. Home projects were my way of appeasing the principal and the parents. I would, at the beginning of the month, send out a calendar that had something small to do each day and then turn it in at the end of the month. In my head, I imagined the family sitting together each night doing the cute, little activity. Now that I am the parent, I know the reality. Maybe one or two families enjoyed the calendar activities and did them like they were supposed to. The rest of the families waited until the night before and argued the entire way through it. In our house, I DREAD the home projects. Even the best intentions end up with frustration and yelling. I am not proud of this. Even if we start the project the night we get it and it is finished before it is due, Tommy is FAMOUS for bringing it to me crumpled up or destroyed because, "It looks like crap." (Everyone fights their own battles. Use of the word crap is not one I choose to fight since I grew up watching my Nana flip people off when they made her mad and my mother can swear with the best of them. I tell my kids when I swear in front of them the same thing my parents told me. They are grown up words that you can use when you are a grown up. Then I add that it keeps me from hitting them upside the head.) For as creative as Isabella is, she is equally doubtful of herself so she can never decide what she wants to do until the last minute OR she does the same thing Tommy does but instead of calmly saying it looks bad, she sobs and stomps her feet and somehow I get blamed for not helping her. I am happy to say that now that Nico is in 7th grade, he needs minimal help but has sent me to Target on a wild goose chase to find materials he needs. At some point in whatever home project I am helping the kids with, paint or glue spills, tables get written on because the children are not working on the drop cloths and there is yelling at the impatience of the kids that ends up ruining the project which sends me back to the store to get more materials. Never once have I obtained that "sitting around the table, family bonding moment" and the only thing I have learned is that if I ever go back to teaching, I won't assign them.

Another reason I dislike home projects so much is Nico's 3rd grade state project. I called his teacher and asked if this was a project the kids were supposed to do themselves or if it was a project that parents were supposed to help with. She emphatically said it was to be a project the kids did themselves. Nico printed out pictures and glued them to a shoebox. He asked me to buy things to go in the shoebox. He wrote the speech and it looked like a 3rd grader did it. When I went to school for the presentations, I felt horrible for him. He stood by his project with a long face and all around him were PowerPoint presentations and projects that were clearly done by adults. I spoke to the teacher and she just shrugged. I didn't really like her as a teacher and after that day, I really disliked her. I tried telling Nico that he should be proud for doing it himself but he didn't care. He was mad at me and everyone else and spent the morning standing in front of his project. Hate, hate, hate home projects.

I have to sign off...I need to go buy blue paint to replace the one that Tommy spilled all over the dining room table (of course missing the dropcloth) while making his litter critter.


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