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Why I don't do first grade homework - Spin the Moon [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
spinthemoon

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Why I don't do first grade homework [Sep. 30th, 2008|11:02 pm]
spinthemoon

Every Tuesday, The Boy brings home his red folder stuffed with papers I'm supposed to read. I don't read them - I've abdicated this responsibility. Today, I remembered why.

The red folder contains important things like permission slips and school picture notices and the lunch menu and The Boy's schoolwork. I can deal with the administrative stuff, but the schoolwork drives me batty. Really, it's better that I just don't look.

Because if I do look, I'm going to run across something like I did today. It was a worksheet. On the worksheet were nineteen little drawings of vases, and each vase had a word on it. The instructions said, Read the word on each vase. Color the vase blue if the word inside is a verb. Color the vase yellow if the word inside is a noun.

Right off the bat, I had issues with the worksheet. Why did it only have 19 vases? 19 is an unnatural number. The vases weren't randomly placed - they were in neat rows of four, except for the first row, which only had three. There could have been four on the first row, but the fourth place was taken up by another drawing, of a little girl at a potter's wheel, making a vase. I guess that picture was important, so the students would realize that all the other drawings were of vases.

My second issue was with the instructions. Why did they say that the word was inside the vase, right after it said to read the word on the vase? If the word were inside the vase, you wouldn't be able to see it. Plus, who keeps words in vases? Or, was it a trick, and the word in the vase wasn't the same as the word on the vase? Maybe it was a telepathy test? That would be silly. Obviously, the words were on the vases, although why anyone would want a vase with the word "Alex" on it is a mystery. Wouldn't that make it an urn, and not a vase? And wouldn't that just be creepy? What kind of weird little girl spends craft time making urns?

OK, so those are admittedly minor things, and I'm probably only the one odd enough to be bothered by them. My real issue was with the words themselves. Because out of the 19 words, six of them could be nouns or verbs: sand, cling, seat, bake, leap, hide. Granted, there probably aren't a lot a first graders who think of carpentry when they see the word "sand", or tanning when they see the word "hide", but still. It's the principle of the thing. Of all the words in the world, surely they could have picked 19 that didn't swing both ways.

I'm not going to say anything to the teacher about the worksheet. I think it's best if I don't. Eventually, The Boy will learn that some words can be both verbs and nouns. I don't know that he would recover from the kind of crazy I would get trying to explain my issues with the worksheet to the teacher.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: willstronghold
2008-10-01 12:19 pm (UTC)
I fucking love this entry. And I fucking hate busy work. I totally feel you on this. I'm so glad that schools are not only making our students learn how to conform, but they're narrowing the range of popular opinion.
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2008-10-01 01:24 pm (UTC)
I thought you would appreciate my pain! And really, there were two more words - open and soar that could go either way, but I felt like the noun usage was a bit more archaic, so I let them slide. (Except then I turned around and used open as a noun this morning, so go figure)

The saddest part is that this isn't about a single teacher who just goofed. This was some sort of published/purchased worksheet. Don't educational publishers have editors?
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[User Picture]From: onelargecat
2008-10-01 02:17 pm (UTC)
hah YIKES. that is horrible.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-02 09:01 am (UTC)

Could Be Worse

Could be 9 or 10 worksheets of variable origins on (hopefully) much and many related subjects, still damp and dripping and aromatic with the fumes of that old purple mimeograph fluid that they used to use in the '60s and '70s, not to mention the fact that the machine operated with a hand crank. Breathe that for a couple of hours (still better than the cigarette smoke in the Teacher's lounge) and you didn't have to go to Planet Zod; it came to you.

Ah, memories.

Kes
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[User Picture]From: aims814
2008-10-02 01:06 pm (UTC)
I still can't get over the fact they're teaching nouns and verbs in first grade. Hmmm, it's been a looooong time for me but I can't remember getting into that in first grade.

I loved reading this entry. And I have to say, I totally agree.

ps - I'm so happy that you guys have electricity, cable and Internet! Yippie!
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[User Picture]From: julzlady
2008-10-02 09:16 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain.

Reason number 472 for homeschooling - the weekly folder.

Possibly because I'm over-educated, or possibly because I'm a closet B---h, I emailed the teachers every time something like that happened. "We're having some trouble deciding on the correct answers for X worksheet because the instructions/items are a bit ambiguous." Just wait until he comes home with questions wrong on a TEST because of something like that. Liam was FURIOUS the first time that happened. (And understandably so, since it was the first test he hadn't gotten 100% on.)

Also, by the time Liam started Kindergarten, I had started intermittently correcting the grammar and spelling on emails and handouts that came from the principal's office - and dropping them off in the main office.
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From: misty_bay
2008-10-04 12:00 pm (UTC)

That sounds awfully hard for a

1st grader. Shouldn't they still be stuffing glue in their mouths at this age?

I agree.....you're the only one who would be bothered with them, but if it makes you feel better, I avoid the folder (which, ironically, is also red) at all costs.

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From: (Anonymous)
2008-11-06 04:33 pm (UTC)
havent you noticed by now pretty much everything in this world now days swings both ways. lol. love ya. OD
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