What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homework Blues


The very word sends shivers down my spine. I had heard, oh I had HEARD the tales of torture from friends with Older Children about the endless supply of worksheets, projects and book reports that seemed suspiciously non age-appropriate, but in order to protect my fragile mental state, I chose to block out the very idea of my evenings being spent with a Homework Packet until My Time Came.

My Time...it has a come.  And, yes, the rumors were correct: it’s unpleasant.  And let’s face it, people; I’m only dealing with a six-year old’s KINDERGARTEN homework.  Now, I put that in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for a few reasons: 

One: The very fact that yes, a child in kindergarten has Homework.
Two: The very fact that yes, kindergarten Homework makes me unhappy.  What happens when I...uh...I mean...the Offspring have algebra Homework?  Three words: Go Ask Daddy. (Or, more likely: Get A Tutor.)
Three: The very fact that Son coming home with Homework is yet another reason in a long line of reasons that have recently inspired me to utter the dreaded tell-tale sign of age: “When I was a kid...”  

Before I proceed, it must be known that I love Son’s teacher.  She is funny.  She is The Boss.  She is able to keep 25 six year olds quiet and in control.  I worship her.  I wish she would hang out with me and tell me all her secrets.  She is exactly the teacher that Son needed and also the one I needed.  And cursing homework is not a reflection of her, her teaching, or my love for her.

It is a reflection of my purely selfish desire to not have to deal with or accept the fact that I have to do homework again.

It is a reflection of my concern and confusion about how these kids will survive and enjoy at least 12 years of schooling when the pressure is already on in kindergarten.  

It is a reflection of my never ending anxiety about the competitive environment in which my Children are being raised.

Yes, I think it’s amazing that Son is starting to read at age six.

But, does he know how to be bored?

Yes, I love that Son has access to learning on iPads and computers at his school.

But, will he soon forget that climbing a tree on a beautiful sunny day is 1000 times better than playing Angry Birds?

I love that my Children have the opportunity to play organized soccer, baseball, football, basketball, every season of the year.

But, will they be able to enjoy a quiet afternoon of shooting hoops by themselves?  Will a simple game of catch in the alley with Mom suffice?

We spend so much time and effort trying to stimulate our kids; trying to give them a leg up; trying to make sure they are set up for success that I fear they won’t know how to fail with grace and composure. 

Because only with age do you realize that the greatest lessons are learned from our natural inclinations to fail at something.  Many things.

I must depart as it’s time for me to go pick up the Offspring from school.  But before we go home today to work on our 10 pages of worksheets....we’re going to go learn how to ride a bike...perhaps the greatest example of failing...and then trying again...and failing...then trying again...and winning.