Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Daughter's Homework is a Reflection on Me

Ok - its out there. I have said it. Its in writing. Every time my daughter (who is only in Kindergarten) turns in her homework, in the back of my mind I think the teacher will feel its a reflection on me. Was her work neat enough? Was it lengthy enough? Did she do the minimum or a bit more? And clearly I need to make sure she does her best - why? Well, of course because its important that she always do her best - but perhaps, if I am going to be totally honest, because if she doesn’t do her best, WHAT WILL HER TEACHER THINK OF ME? I’m sorry - what will the teacher think of her? Wait, that is really not what I meant - I honestly mean to say, what will her teacher think of ME?

Sad statement? Perhaps - but a tad bit true. And if you are honest with yourself - don’t you kinda feel the same way? If you don’t, then you are a better person then I and I truly admire that.

Let’s take my daughter’s first report that she had to do for school. The teacher assigned it on a Monday - to write a report about an animal who lives in the Sonoran desert. Write at least 3 sentences (what it eats, where it sleeps, etc) and draw a picture of your animal.
So, I asked my daughter if she has learned about desert animals and she told me they had watched a video that day and she really wants to do a butterfly. I said, a butterfly (in my mind that is an insect, not an animal)? And she said yes, there were butterflies in the video.

So, that evening I proceed to email her teacher to ask her if we can do a butterfly because I think its an insect and not an animal - her teacher did inform me that if she wanted to do a butterfly, we had to so the specific species that lives in the Sonoran desert. So my daughter chose an elf owl. We went on-line and found a bunch of wonderful information about the elf owl - I read her everything and she picked all the things she wanted to include in her report. She picked about 12 statements - ever watched/waited for a child in Kindergarten to write 12 sentences, let alone 3???? Well - we took her 12 statements and she said what she wanted the sentence to say. While her teacher said the spelling didn’t have to be perfect, I didn’t think it should be filled with my daughter’s spelling of words (i.e., pridee for pretty, rilly for really, ) - so she dictated her sentences to me and I wrote them on the computer and the plan was she was going to copy all the sentences. I think I realized how silly 12 sentences were, so we ended up with about 6 of them.

Well - after watching her write 2 sentences (it was painstakingly slow as she had to make sure all her letters were perfectly formed on the lines) for about 20 minutes - we decided we still had too many sentences. So we cut more and we were down to 4. So, we wrote for another 20 -30 minutes. Four sentences in about 45 minutes. Oy. I was very very proud of her - I don’t think she has sat for 45 minutes at anything in her life!!

So - was I proud of her? Yes. But was I wondering what her teacher would think of my role in this? YES!! Did she choose a good animal? Did she say the right things about it? Was her picture good enough? Were 4 sentences enough - or was she looking for more, even though she said a min. of 3.

So - this was just a little glimpse into my daughter’s academic future and I realized something - that if I don’t get a grip and learn that truly, the most important thing is that my daughter tries her best for her own sake- not because of what the teacher will think of me as a mom - then I will have a long, stressful academic career ahead of us!!

Tell me, are you connecting with this concept a little bit - or do you not give your child’s work one other thought other then you hope they did well on it?? Let me know if I’m the only nut there.

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