Oct 2, 2009

And next year, he gets his PhD

I don't consider us to be an "overscheduled" family. Nathaniel only plays soccer and does Cub Scouts, and the other two boys aren't participating in any extra activities right now. Really it comes down to being a two-parent working family, since we don't get home until 6:30 on regular nights and 7:30 or 8:00 on activity nights.


It's difficult to do supper and homework and still get to bed before 9:00 a lot of times. (Are you wondering how we manage baths? Answer: most of the time, we don't. Honestly, I fit baths in on soccer days and on the weekends. Are you going to stop reading my blog now?)


It's a challenge I know ALL families are dealing with, and we are no different.

But I was totally unprepared for Our New Reality ... the reality that is first-grade homework. I didn't expect it to rock our world like it has over the last month. Nathaniel is doing well with it, all things considered, but Grayson and I are having a harder time. I'm sort of, well, Type A. I want everything to be done perfectly.

If Nathaniel's supposed to read for 20 minutes, I set the kitchen timer. If he has to find 10 words in a magazine and cut them out, we'll find the 10 words or die trying. I've been wondering lately if I'm taking it all too seriously ... I know I probably am.


But do ALL first-graders have this kind of homework?


Reading: Read for 20 minutes. Check comprehension (to be sure that he didn't just PRETEND to read silently.)


Math: Do math activity involving dice, chips and gameboard. Sometimes it's a card game, but it usually takes at least 15 minutes because he has to play and write down all the answers. And when you have a little brother who is DYING to have homework of his own and insists on "helping," it can take even longer.


Spelling: Find and cut out this week's 10 spelling words from magazines or newspapers. A couple of weeks ago, the words were I, an, leg, bed, deck, pet, yes, ten, and two others that escape me at the moment. We had no fewer than 10 magazines spread out on the kitchen table, looking for the words.


(P.S. It's very hard to find the words "pet," "deck" and "leg" when you don't subscribe to Cat Fancy, This Old House or Restless Leg Syndrome Digest. Country Living, TV Guide, and People were NOT very helpful.) When Nathaniel and I had been looking for over an hour, Grayson made us stop. He might have said a curse word under his breath. I DEFINITELY said one in my head.


But here's the thing ... I felt like we just HAD to do it. It's part of the weekly Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe game, in which we have to do three activities.




And I’m here to tell you – officially. on my blawg – that we will NEVER be spelling our words with pasta or cereal, so that square is out of bounds. TOMATO SAUCE OR SUGARY CRUMBS? Pick your poison. NO THANKS.


Now, coming up with a silly sentence and drawing a picture, THAT we can do.




Writing the words forwards and backwards, we can do that, too.



This is getting so long that I don’t even want to get INTO the homework that Nicholas brought home from preschool last week ON THE SAME NIGHT as the hunt for "pet," "deck" and "leg." If I go there, I will likely cry.

Lord help us when we get to science fairs. I MIGHT NOT MAKE IT TO SECOND GRADE.



*** I also want to take a second and say that our teacher, Miss H., is a wonderful, nurturing person. We couldn’t have hoped for anyone who would be a better match for Nathaniel’s temperament (and my apparent idiosyncrasies). She is talented, patient, kind … everything you could possibly want in a first-grade teacher. I feel so blessed that if anyone is going to push me into a mental institution, it would be she.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay so I just found your blog from a link on Jonah's...I think. I have a cold so I can't think right now. I have to tell you after reading only your first two newest postings I think we are long lost somethings. My son has the exact same tic tac toe homework although it is not always spelling activities...could be math, reading, who knows what. Sends me over the edge every. single. week. And yes, best teacher in the world, but oh my the homework. And the banana story. I have four kids who will only eat the most perfectly ripe yellow bananas without a speck of a bruise. Come on here people. I don't own a banana grove. Bananas bruise. Deal. I'll be checking in with you frequently to watch my life pass before my eyes in your words! God bless!

Sarah T. said...

I don't even remember having homework until 4th or 5th grade.

Kelly said...

After teaching Kindergarten in Marietta, I realized that they are doing what we did in first grade and so on....everything is accelerated. Sometimes I think we push them too hard, but yes - this is par for the course now. I do think you are probably one of the few faithful parents that sticks to the rules and fulfills the homework ideas/requirements, though (sans spelling with pasta and cereal! Ha!) By the way, your kids are way too adorable...love reading the blog!

I'm a Mom!..? said...

Stop reading for lack of baths? Makes me like you all the more! Finally someone who understands me!!!

Sarah said...

Sorry but the teacher in me needs to share this:
What about using the dried pasta alphabet letters? You could keep the same bag of letters and never cook them. They could be kept in a special container for the sole purpose of spelling.

That would probably take a lot less time than cutting the words out of magazines! Oy!

We are lax on bathtime rituals too. We love our Bathless Groggins.

Wade's World said...

Lord help me when Jackson gets into school. With my OCD issues, we'll be up all.night.long.

RLR said...

We are having a similar struggle - and my oldest is only in kindergarten. (I was going to type 'kindergartener' - but then I wondered if it was really 'kindergartner' and if I would send you over the edge with that one....)

We have a math calendar, 15 minutes of reading/discussion, writing homework, and some extra work on writing with upper and lowercase letters. Whew! Nothing like when we were growing up!

melanie said...

Now you can completely understand that when my Jake walked across the stage in June to receive his high school diploma, I was the happiest mother in the universe at that moment in time. (My name should have been in parentheses under his on the diploma.)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Anonymous, I'm glad to have found a kindred spirit here! Thanks for commenting!

Kelly, Thanks for commenting from the parent's AND the teacher's perspective! Lost of people have told me that this is the way it is at MANY schools, especially in more competitive school districts.

I'm a Mom! ... another kindred spirit! Yea for the Internet!

Sarah, I HAD NO IDEA THEY MAKE DRY PASTA LETTERS. They will be on our grocery list this week. Great idea.

Melanie, Now I understand why you were so proud! :) I will be happy at graduation, too, although sad because I'll be missing them already.

Grayson said...

One more thing with Katherine and homework. She had to write Miss H. a three paragraph explanation of why the word ten would not be in a magazine because it doesn't meet AP style and that's why she couldn't cut it out.

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