One of my favorite TV commercials of all time shows a father dancing and pushing a shopping cart full of school supplies through a store with his children trudging along behind him, downcast, while the Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background. Dad is happy, no, ecstatic that school is starting while the kids mourn the end of summer and the return to homework.
Last week, our kids returned to school. They were actually excited to get back. As a parent, I was looking forward to the routine of school and the alone time in the day so I could get things done (like blogging). One thing I am not excited about is homework, and I had a lot of it that first week.
Yes, you read that right my husband and I had homework. The first day or so of school, teachers seldom give out homework to the students. They spend that time acclimating students to their new classes and protocol. And (I think) the teachers try to win the kids over before they sock it to them. In class, they go over the rules, expectations, etc. That same info is then sent home for the parents, as homework. We responsible adults must read all of this information and sign a form stating that we did, which the students return to the teachers the next day. While that might not seem like much, it adds up when you have five children. Two of the children are in elementary school and have one primary teacher, so it isn’t too bad. The teens, however, have seven teachers each. While each teacher doesn’t have a form required to be signed and returned, there are enough to make one sigh, heavily.
This year, in this increasingly technological society, I had something new. I needed to download an app, and/or sign up via text to a service which the teacher will use to communicate homework, messages, etc. I also need to update my contact lists with the new teachers’ phone numbers and email addresses, just in case. My parents never had to deal with this stuff!
Another “homework” for parents those first few days of school is more shopping. The elementary kids were easy. We got a list and bought everything before the first day of school. The big kids, however, not so lucky. Such magical lists are not available before the start of school. Instead, they come home and say, “By the way, I need…” and often this comes at 9:00 P.M. Off to Stuff Mart to purchase those extra materials that they just HAVE to have the next day. The same materials which were left behind on the kitchen table in the morning.
The last bit of homework for parents (and a part I struggle with) is to file all of this information so you can find it and reference it when needed, because at this point it is all blended together in your mushy mind. And you will need it. What is the Social Studies teacher’s policy on make-up work? What per cent of the final grade are Math quizzes worth? Is that Choir performance mandatory or extra credit? Also, don’t forget to synchronize all the school and family calendars, make sure there is money in the school lunch accounts, fill out the forms required for a parking permit, make sure the school uniforms are clean, and get to bed before midnight.
My homework is done for now (except for the filing of info part). Sorry, kids, but now it’s your turn for homework. Bwahahahaha!!!!