Back To School – You’ve Been Warned

In the spirit of back to school season, I wanted to quickly send out my sympathy and empathy to all the Moms and Dads out there worldwide that will be receiving the torturous, tedious, and distressing task of… HOMEWORK. (cue the dramatic sound effect). 

This comes in the guise of little Timmy’s homework (insert your child’s name here), quietly nestled in his take-home folder which Timmy so excitedly chose himself during your back-to-school shopping outing together. But don’t be fooled!!! This is actually a long-established custom, proven to test each household adult claiming responsibility over little Timmy (note that I don’t have any kids named Timmy).

It innocently begins with all the handouts that ONLY the parents or guardians are to fill out and sign that first week of school.

  • They are assessing our sense of urgency by how quickly we send them back with Timmy.
  • They are sizing us up by how accurately and detailed we fill out each emergency contact section.
  • They are scrutinizing the short cuts we may take by abbreviating or writing in “same” for each parent or siblings address we need to list out.
  • My husband lovingly describes me as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m sure they have Graphologists on site to analyze our handwriting patterns to psychologically identify us and evaluate our possible personality characteristics.

As the days turn in to weeks, you are flooded with actual homework worksheets. First, those supposed cute and simple Kindergarten worksheets with antiquated washed out black and white pictures of a kid running and you were supposed to guess it was meant to identify HAPPY instead of, let me see, maybe RUN?

Or the first-grade Reading Envelope that forces you to play a boring reading game with your son where each time he lands on a space, he has to think of a word that ends with the ‘uck’ chunk. THAT cannot end well, and an inappropriate four letter word is now stuck on loop in your head as you roll the dice and ask yourself who was the genius that thought this was a good idea.

You need to finish dinner, laundry, dishes, dry up that wet spot on the floor thanks to the dog you forgot to let out, juice, the kids want juice, prepping snacks for tomorrow, bath time and iron clothes for the next day as both parents tag team between it all. And yet both parents secretly prefer to do ALL these other combined chores than to continue with helping Timmy understand that the PH in the word PHONE sounds the same as an F, but unfortunately we cannot logically change it to FONE.  “No sweetheart, we’re sure, we’ve tried. And yes, I know it’s stupid”. His head will most certainly spin when we try to use the same logic with the word ROUGH the following week.

Next up is the math homework that needs to be completed and outlined in three different formats while showing the work for each on the other side of the page. I have to add like five more sheets because my kid takes up an entire page to show the work for just one math problem. Does it really matter if they figured out that 10 + 5 = 15 vertically or horizontally, or if they used tally marks or circles to reach the same conclusion? Fine, we’ll include them all.

Book reports for a first grader is the icing on the cake. Obviously I cannot ask Timmy to go read The Titanic Disaster on his own while he’s still perplexed about the whole PH vs. F debacle and I have to patiently wait until he tries to sound out each word on his own. I wait because that would make me a better parent as opposed to the parent I truly am on the inside… silently in my head screaming out the word “evacuation”. 5 syllables sweetheart, 5 syllables! Clap it out.

I can go on forever as to why I hate homework. Plus I paid my dues. This was definitely NOT in the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book. Trust me, I checked. No one warned us. And if they did, I guess in our inexperienced status of parenthood we were oblivious to the reality of it all.

This is our test. Our test of patience. Our test of love. Our test that we can co-exist with our kids teachers and not lose it. And at the end of each school year we find a way to still thank them for a great year. (As we internally acknowledge that it wasn’t so great all the time).

Just remember that one day they will grow up and possibly have their own children. We’ll laugh as our adult kids, now parents themselves ask us, “Mom. Dad. Why didn’t you warn me that it would be like this?” And our reply will simply be… “You would have never believed us”.

— The Pretty Platform




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