30 June 2008

Getting Back To Nature - Parent Edition

Every June, our school sends home a barrage of suggestions for activities we might do to encourage continued development in literacy and creativity over the summer holiday. This year, there seems to be a get-back-to-nature theme and we are urged to inspire our children to keep a journal of prose or poetry - perhaps haiku - and drawings of natural things around them. Parents are instructed to also keep a summer journal, as an example and so discussions about summer journaling will not be one-sided.

My hackles are up about being assigned summer homework. I don't even like the kids having homework during the school year. I know the justification is that starting earlier forms a better habit but, frankly, the boys are still working on much more basic habit forming, like remembering to brush their teeth each day. Also, our school pretty clearly places the homework burden on the parent. It is, of course, the student's assignment but when the homework isn't done it is the parent who gets a series of stern notes and then calls for meetings where lectures on the importance of homework and maintaining a unified link between school and home are given. That punishment for failing to do homework falls to the parents is absurd. It's my job to punish my children for not doing things they are responsible for at home, like their chores. The school should assign consequences for failure to meet expectations at school.

Sadly, the school seems unlikely to assign its' own consequences. They fancy themselves a nurturing place where students learn and grow through encouragement...but I think the lack of punishment-type activities keeps them away from lawsuits. So, they don't get sued and I'm supposed to be a thug and force my children through their homework each day (and now, delightfully, over the summer break). Some parents we know actually do the homework for their children, which rubs us wrong. Even though we don't agree with the kids having the homework, we feel it gets done or it doesn't but BY THE CHILD.

While I didn't even consider for a minute making the boys (or us) do summer homework, I did think about what the consequences might be. What will happen when I don't turn in my summer journal? Will it cause trouble or embarrassment for my children? Will the school send home a make-up assignment? Can I just point them to my blogs? Tune in mid-September for the answers to these pressing questions.


Sister K said...

yeah, i'm still for giving them your blog address!

Mark Shacket said...

"Karen, this essay was very well-written, and your use of vocabulary shows the kind of growth we are seeking from the parents of our students. While some phrases were missing modifiers (see "starting earlier" in the second paragraph...starting what earlier?), overall this is an excellent effort. Very well done. Grade: A-minus Sincerely, Your (and your kids') Teacher"


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