Every week, my son’s teacher, who is an organized woman as well as a living saint, leaves in his folder a small booklet that is intended to be his homework for the week. It is all of three pages, and it always has a theme, whether it be the weather or certain types of animals or upcoming holidays. To finish the whole thing with my help would take him perhaps five minutes.
However, I have a confession to make.
We don’t do them.
You are shocked, shocked, I know! I’m disappointed in me too. I also would expect me to be a more responsible mother, and because I don’t have him do these worksheets, he will be lucky if he can attend Ebay University, much less Harvard. How will he ever learn to function in the world if he does not practice the ability to find different fruits in a picture? I’m glad that I remain anonymous, for I fear a mob of angry Alpha Moms might try to come and run me out of town if they were to find out.
But deep down in my heart of hearts, I don’t think a five year old should be doing homework.
Kindergarten is already what first grade used to be, and sixth grade is practically high school. There will be time aplenty for homework.
I would rather have him outside, I would rather have him create art, I would rather we read together. In fact, I would rather have him do almost anything other than a worksheet. Because I think many children these days have more homework than they know how to finish in a given night, and in my own tiny, subversive way, I am rebelling against the useless worksheet trend.
And perhaps my rebel yell is really more of a recalcitrant whisper, but I still think it speaks volumes.
You might say that it speaks volumes about my stupidity, but I beg to differ.
I’m not a big fan of logos or writing on my clothing. I think I am paying enough already without giving them some free advertising on my body. And really, since I try to avoid the paparazzi these days, nobody sees it anyway.
But finally, some writing on clothing that I can get behind.
From the Los Angeles Times comes the story of a man with a vision. A man who thought, why not expose children to words and their definitions while they are at PE? Which is perfect, because as we all know, there’s nowhere to hide during PE.
At a middle school in which most children are disadvantaged when it comes to exposure to vocabulary words often found in standardized testing, 26 year old UCLA undergrad Michael Bailey thought he could help. Using the principal of “cognitive metaphor theory” which is just a way of saying that our minds try to place unfamiliar things with things that are familiar, he decided PE shirts would be the way to go.
So far, it seems to be working at improving the student’s language skills, and every little bit helps.
Now just think how smart we would all be if everyone walked around with words and their definitions on our backs!
I’ve got dibs on “superfantastic.”
(Looking for the TeenyManolo Sweepstakes? Go here)
School started for my son on Sept. 4, and as of today, I think he has spent almost as much time at home as he has in class. He keeps getting sick, and since he complains that he doesn’t like school, I keep having to play an annoying guessing game as to whether he is truly ill or just feels like playing with his pirate ship for the day instead of participating in circle time.
That has got to be one of the trickier things I’ve yet to stumble across as a parent, trying to figure out if your child is really sick or if they simply don’t feel like going to school.
My mother had a very strict policy about staying home from school. Unless you had a very high fever (over 100) or were actively (emphasis on actively) throwing up, your butt was going to be hauled off to school. And sometimes even then, your odds were fifty-fifty. I was a student who normally loved school, so you would have thought she could have cut me a little slack when said I wasn’t feeling well. Being a nurse, my mother showed no mercy whatsoever, seeing as how she saw truly sick people every darn day young lady, and a kid with the sniffles didn’t qualify as sick in her book.
I was never sly enough to pull any tricks a la Ferris Bueller, so my attendance record was practically flawless. But the valuable advice I got from that movie will stay with me forever as a parent. Trust me, I am always going to walk into the room instead of hovering at the doorway. Mark my words.
As my son is still in pre-K, I tend to be a lot more lenient than my mother ever was. All right, so he will miss out on some painting and reading and social interaction, but there is no letter grade to earn or points to be missed, so for me it is not a big deal. I figure if he was going to fake being sick, as a five year old, it wouldn’t be comprised of such a detailed plan. It takes a lot of forethought to wake yourself up in the wee hours of the morning to scream that you need a Kleenex. And a cough drop. And some water…
I have a sneaking suspicion that he is having a hard time adjusting to the new schedule, but then you walk that fine line where they get sicker if you push them. And really, I’d rather have a few hours to myself than listening to him sing “A Pirate’s Life for Me” one more time. I’m selfish that way, I know. I did that on Friday, and have since been rewarded for my self-centeredness by having a hacking, snotty child less than ten feet away from me at any given moment.
I am very aware that attendance in school is an important part of success.
But I still have this feeling that my son is going to stay home a lot more than I ever did.
And maybe, just maybe, there will be a few days when we wake up and I suggest, “Why don’t we go somewhere fun today?”
Does that make me a bad mom? Or just a mom who will never have to worry about her son being chased through backyards by a deranged principal? See, I’ll be doing him a favor.
Stop me if you’ve heard this. I have come late to the genius which is Anita Renfroe‘s Mom’s Overture, a complete roundup of everything a mother says in a day, performed in just under three minutes, to the tune of the William Tell Overture.
And the lyrics, so you can sing along and perform it at karaoke nights:
“The Mom Song”
Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face
Brush your teeth
Comb your sleepyhead
Here’s your clothes and your shoes
Hear the words I said
Get up now! Get up and make your bed
Are you hot? Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where’s your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and gloves and your scarf and hat
Don’t forget! You gotta feed the cat
Eat your breakfast, the experts tell us it’s the most important meal of all
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at 3 today
Don’t forget your piano lesson is this afternoon so you must play
The bus is here
Come back here
Did you wash behind your ears?
Play outside, don’t play rough, will you just play fair?
Be polite, make a friend, don’t forget to share
Work it out, wait your turn, never take a dare
Get along! Don’t make me come down there
Clean your room, fold your clothes, put your stuff away
Make your bed, do it now, do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn? Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?
Answer the phone! Get off the phone!
Don’t sit so close, turn it down, no texting at the table
No more computer time tonight!
Your iPod’s my iPod if you don’t listen up
Where are you going and with whom and what time do you think you’re coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me makes you welcome everywhere you roam
You’ll appreciate my wisdom someday when you’re older and you’re grown
Can’t wait till you have a couple little children of your own
You’ll thank me for the counsel I gave you so willingly
But right now I thank you not to roll your eyes at me
Close your mouth when you chew, would appreciate
Take a bite maybe two of the stuff you hate
Use your fork, do not burp or I’ll set you straight
Eat the food I put upon your plate
Get an A, get the door, don’t get smart with me
Get a grip, get in here, I’ll count to three
Get a job, get a life, get a PHD
Get a dose of,
“I don’t care who started it!
You’re grounded until you’re 36″
Get your story straight and tell the truth for once, for heaven’s sake
And if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump, too?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said at least a thousand times before
That you’re too old to act this way
It must be your father’s DNA
Look at me when I am talking
Stand up straighter when you walk
A place for everything and everything must be in place
Stop crying or I’ll give you something real to cry about
Brush your teeth, wash your face, put your PJs on
Get in bed, get up here, say a prayer with mom
Don’t forget, I love you
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom’s work never ends
You don’t need the reason why
Because, because, because, because
I said so, I said so, I said so, I said so
I’m the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom!!
Every now and again our mysterious overlord The Manolo descends from his Chilean ski lodge, jets over from his villa on Lago de Como, or pries himself out of the greedy Parisian grasp of that notorious publicity hound Yves Saint Laurent to visit upon us the linkie lurve, as his dear Texan friend Jerry pronounces it.
And this pleases us, it do. It makes us feel all tingly inside, like the Angels, sitting in the hot tub with Bosley, listening to Charlie sing their praises. And we look to once again do our best for him.
In particular, by stealing from him.
Oh, don’t look at me like that. Don’t you tell me that Sabrina, Jill and Kelly never took home a stapler. I only know they didn’t take home a pad of Post-its because they hadn’t been released to the public yet. But, come to think of it, Charlie would have had some anyway. Charlie was probably sleeping with Miss Moneypenny and getting all the cream James Bond was too high and mighty to skim off, the fool!
Right, the stealing. That brings us back to stealing. It’s a blog post about stealing.
Well, as you can imagine, a well-connected guy like The Big M knows a lot of people. Heck, I can’t count the times he’s told me to “take a message” when tiresome old Madonna, George Clooney, or Bono is on the line. He gets around. To places you and I have never heard of. Without paying the cover. And he brings back things like this…click on to see the Secret Files of the Manolo… (more…)