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Homework Rebel

So yesterday Lily came home with her first spelling list for first grade, which was oddly a lot easier than ANY spelling list she ever had toward the end of kindergarten– where I believe her first spelling test somehow had the word “clown” on it.

Her spelling list now:


Lily reads at at least a late second grade level. She has been reading chapter books for almost a year. Obviously, she can spell these words.

Yet the spelling list came with a literal tic tac toe board of insane activities we had to do together. We were supposed to play tic tac toe with the activities to make sure we got three in a row. Examples: Make flashcards, write the words in flour in a plate, write down as many of the words as you can in one minute, do artwork with the words. Parental involvement was required in each activity.

And you know? I totally understand that these kids need to be able to spell these words and not all the kids learn them so easily. Some of these activities might help kids who have trouble with them and that’s great, but this is a huge waste of time in our household. The activities should have been optional. When I got the list, I turned to Lily and asked her how to spell each word. She could spell them all. Following that and short of a REAL worksheet she can fill out herself, that should have been the entirety of my involvement. Because you know what? I finished my first grade homework when I graduated from first grade 28 years ago.

I totally contemplated cheating on my daughter’s homework and just putting my initials on three of the tic tac toes in a row, but Lily can read. She’d totally know I’d cheated. And she’d take that as a cue that it was ok to cheat.

It’s not.

But seriously. WHAT. A. PAIN. So last night I had to spend 20 minutes helping my child participate in ridiculous activities to memorize words she already knew how to spell.

Whatever happened to just quizzing your kids on the spelling words and then being out of the loop? You REALLY expect me to make a huge mess of my kitchen by having my 6 year old write words she already knows how to spell in flour? Really?


And yes, I’m back. Bad winter, bad routine, no routine, long crazy summer and Candy Crush addiction (and Candy Crush rehab!) all gave me writer’s block for a little bit too long there, but I think I’ve conquered it. I hope. Or at least today I have. Hopefully our new and improved school schedule will keep me writing.



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This past Friday, Lily got her first homework assignment.

Or rather, I got MY first homework assignment. Every single task on her homework included instructions for me and what I should teach her. One portion of the homework involved me having to tell her the story of how she got her name and then writing it down so she could share it with the class.

What if I didn’t have a good reason for her name? I have a nice enough story for Lily’s real name, but I have no good stories for Rose or Violet. We saw their names in a baby book, liked them a lot and then named them. The first two kids got their flower middle names sort of by accident, but we did it on purpose with the last kid. There’s not much to say.

I thought homework was supposed to be for the kids to take home to learn more. I thought parents were supposed to help when they needed to. This is how it always worked at my house growing up. My sister and I usually did our homework by ourselves and then our parents would step in when we needed help or to check our homework when we finished it to make sure we’d done it correctly. This is how homework makes sense to me.

Now, I want to be involved in my child’s education. I absolutely do. But I don’t understand this homework that’s specifically for me to do. My child should be doing the homework and my involvement, while perhaps important, should be optional. I ok with quizzing spelling words and tutoring on fractions, but I’m not the one in school. I shouldn’t be writing mini essays.

Did school change? Is this how school is now?

I mean, homework in kindergarten sounded ridiculous to begin with. I wondered how kids who couldn’t read would do homework.

I guess now I know. It’s not the kids’ homework. It’s the parents’.


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