I resent my children's teachers. I do. Lately it feels like they have moved into our tiny house with us and are disrupting our home life with their dumb-ass assignments that have no greater purpose in life.
We are drowning in homework. My kids each have a minimum of 90 minutes of homework every night. Molly and Clarke have even more on the weekends. Who do these people think they are? They have my children in class for seven hours a day, five days a week. If they can't teach them what they need to know in that amount of time, then something is broken with the school system. I suspect that's true, that our schools are broken, that it's not the teacher's fault. But still, that doesn't mean they have ruin my home life.
The problem, in addition to the time, is that the homework is assigned with the expectation that I will be around to help and to check it. Maggie is instructed to "read out loud to a parent" for 20 minutes every night. Clarke gets a study guide for every test, but he answers half the questions wrong. If he studied on his own, he would have memorized the fact that International Dateline goes through Greenwich, England. And Molly tells me that parents are expected to check their child's work.
The numbers here don't add up. Three kids, one me. We are together for roughly four hours every evening, between the time I get home at 5:30 p.m. and the time they go to bed. In that time, we have to cook dinner, eat and clean up, get to soccer/gymnastics/theater and home. And maybe try to enjoy each other's company.
I just about lost it tonight. Maggie informed me that I am expected to drill her on her multiplication and division tables until she knows them. She's in Third Grade. This is in addition to drilling her on her spelling and vocab every night and listening to her read. That's an hour right there.
Clarke has tests all this week and tomorrow's is geography. He is expected to memorize random facts that have nothing to do with each other like: Name the seven countries of Central America. Name and eight provinces of Canada. Or name the country at 40 degrees E and 20 degrees N. Seriously, all three of these questions are on the same test tomorrow. The only way to memorize these is keep asking the question over and over again.
I want to scream: I went to school for 18 years. I did my homework already. And I'm not going to do it again! I have politely tried to ask my kids' teachers why they do this to me. They assure me that I am the problem. Other parents are eager to participate in their children's education.
Not me. If I'd wanted to teach my kids I would have home-schooled them. I want to have fun with my kids. I want to go to the movies and go shopping and watch "The Office." I want to bake a scrumptious dessert or take the dog for a walk or go to a baseball game. I don't want to browbeat them into memorizing the name of the largest city on Cape Cod. (Hyannis?? Who gives a shit?)
The icing on my homework hissy-fit tonight came when Clarke described a movie he has been watching in school. "A movie?" I said. "Really?"
"We're watching a movie too," Maggie told me. "It's about space."
Sensing my indignation, Molly insisted on piling on. "I was really surprised that we watch so many movies in high school." Her voice was full of fake wonder and excitement.
Here's an idea, teacher: How about you send the movies home so I can watch them with my kids. And, then, while my son is in school, you force him to memorize three countries of South America through which the 20th parallel passes. Send the art project home so I play with the paints while you cram the multiplication tables into a child who is too young to grasp the concept. Send me home the cool science lab, and you sit with my daughter and read aloud the same page in the text book, trying to decipher what the authors meant. Because there must be some rule somewhere that dictates that science textbooks must read as if they are badly translated instruction manuals from a foreign country. Why use a simple subject and a simple verb, when a convoluted train of dependent clauses with nonspecific pronouns and changing verb tenses are so much more fun.
Damn it, I'm through with this. I want to do the fun stuff.
I HATE HOMEWORK!