The elementary school curriculum has changed significantly in the last 10 years. That is the age gap between my first and second child. When child number one was in first grade, the homework (if there was any) consisted of a single worksheet to be worked on and returned the next day. Even that?was stressful for me. I had to make sure that said worksheet made it to the folder (where the heck did that folder just go?) and into the backpack?before it blended into one of the numerous piles of paper that existed on all flat surfaces of the kitchen….and bedrooms….and laundry room. (And if it ended up in the laundry room paper pile, it inevitably soaked up the spilled detergent from that morning’s load of laundry. (Oh Shoot! I have to put those clothes into the dryer!)
When child number two entered the world of academia, I was ill prepared for the apparent shift from elementary school to assembly line; focused on cranking out a generation of overworked, over-scheduled, over-stressed, overachievers. (A ploy, I’m convinced was designed by Big Pharma to ensure that EVERY American is prescribed some sort of psychotropic medication by 2025!)
He came home from school on the very first day of kindergarten with a binder full of tabs and dividers and a whole lot of homework! At five years old, he had just given up napping in the afternoon due to a full day of kindergarten; now he was expected to spend a good part of his evening working on multiple subjects every night? He was practically falling asleep in his mashed potatoes by dinnertime.
If the daily assignments weren’t bad enough, the year was punctuated with intermittent surprise weekend projects that would catch me completely off guard every. single. time. ?These projects were especially taxing since it was usually around 5pm on Sunday that I got around to opening that backpack. – Oh fabulous, Ellie the Elephant has decided to spend the weekend with us, and we are to document all of the fun we had together! “Quick, honey before the sun goes down! We need to get pictures of Max and this stuffed elephant doing something fun and creative in the backyard. Wait, better yet, let’s go to the park!….What do you mean he’s already sleeping?” ?Mom. of. the. year.
I was the Wednesday morning book mom for Max’s kindergarten class. I used to sit with each kid, individually, as they read last night’s reading assignment to me. It was to be initialed by the parents each day to prove to the teacher that we were fulfilling our parental duty by reading with our children every night. (along with the seventeen other assignments that were also to be initialed separately.) I’ll tell you, nothing made me happier than seeing how many parents were deficient in this area! It sounds terrible, but what a relief that I was not the only mom who was having such a hard time keeping up with kindergarten assignments!
Now that child number three is about to make his entrance into the learning world in a few weeks, I fear that I am going to have to outsource homework time all together. I will compensate by picking up a couple extra shifts at work. People laugh when I say that I escape the chaos of my life to go relax at my job in the overcrowded urban emergency room, but its true! ?It’s like I’m back in school myself. ?Here I am, a grown adult, finding any excuse I can to get out of doing homework. ?Sorry kiddo, tell your teacher, that we didn’t get around to making up a rap using this weeks spelling words, because mommy had some lives to save. ?(At least my excuses have gotten better)