I got a prerecorded message yesterday from the Hillsborough County School District informing me that there was now some sort of fantastic (taxpayer funded, no doubt) new website where I can go to create even more homework for Callie. I simply had to log in and there I would find all sorts of math and other academic delights to be explored. Hooray.
The call ended with a guilt-invoking sing-songy reminder, “Remember, parental involvement is the key to your child’s academic success.” Guess what school board? I don’t want to
help with force her to do the homework she already has, much less any extra piled-on BS. So f*** you very much for the offer, but no thanks.
That message was followed by an email from Callie’s teachers about some extra assignment they’d taped to the folder because the kids had ASKED for extra writing practice because they didn’t have as much homework on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Yeah, right. These are 2nd graders. I refuse to believe they are asking for extra homework. If so, it must have been the choice between that and some even less palatable option that the teacher neglected to mention in the email.
Another parent “replied all” to the teachers’ email asking for clarification on exactly what the kids were supposed to do and suggesting that it would be helpful if we got this information sooner than a few hours before bedtime.
Emboldened by her response, and having my own ass freshly chapped by all these recent messages of extra homework, I replied to all with my own email this morning and then hit send before I could talk myself out of it. I said,
“Yes, if we are supposed to help them with this, more information would be helpful.
And, frankly, LESS homework would be better. They are at school all day. Teach them there and let them relax with their families at night please.
Stephanie West, Callie’s mom”
Let me clarify that I actually like her teachers and I am all for education. I love reading, I love learning. I just do not love all of the busy-work homework that our kids are saddled with. And I hate having to fight with Callie to get her to do it. Especially since I empathize with her reluctance to do more work after having been at school and after-school activities all day.
And it’s not that I don’t want to be involved with her learning, I just don’t want that involvement to be me in the thankless role of Angry Homework Police. How is this a good use of time for any of us?
Here’s what is awesome about the situation. A few parents, who shall remain nameless, emailed me back privately and said, “I agree!” and “Thank you!” One parent even replied to all and talked about studies and a book (Alfie Kohn, The case against homework) that say homework is not beneficial in elementary school.
YES! Here are my people! Where have you guys been hiding?
And–even cooler–a few moms then replied to everyone, introduced themselves, and invited all of the kids in the class on group play dates. Amazing.
I have blogged before about how I have not had a great experience at this school so far. I haven’t found any parents that I feel that I have much in common with and Callie has not been invited on a lot of play dates.
I do have to admit that due to my own discomfort with the parents I haven’t exerted myself overly hard on the playdate front either, but I mean, it’s been tumbleweeds around here. Cold tumbleweeds with crickets and dust bunnies.
Is this all it took to open up some lines of communication with other parents at this school? Did I just have to complain out loud in front of everyone? Man! I should have started bitching sooner!
The funny thing is that when I sent the email I thought, “Who cares if the other parents don’t like what I have to say on this matter? I’m not friends with any of these people anyway.”
How weird would it be if I now actually get to know some of Callie’s classmate’s moms because of it?
Life is funny and the universe (God, Jehovah, Allah, choose your higher power . . . ) certainly has a sense of humor.