Friday, February 20, 2009

No one ever told me...

...that as a parent you get to do school, not just the one time you did it all, but also several more times as each of your children go through school. Why is that?

I think my parents involvement in my education was minimal. They went to some parent-teacher conferences. Boy, I sure hated when those happened as there was always some new interesting tidbit my parents found out about that I had already forgotten about. I say..why bring up the past...oh but that's what I'm doing. The only other involvement I believe was the 2 or 3 research papers in high school that I had my Mom use her crazy, mad typing skills and type the final draft for me on our state of the art IBM Selectrix. (and no that did not have auto correct... you had to line up the letter and put in correction sheets that you used judiciously until there truly was no "white out" powder left on it.) The best benefit of using Mom to type these papers was the spell check and grammar check provided. No red or blue squiggles...just her brain. Even more impressive was her ability to read the chicken scratch of all 4 of her sons and type at 90 words a minute.

No less impressive was watching her do the books of Dad's business or pay the bills and see her fingers fly on the Burroughs Adding Machine. It was a device with 10 buttons for every "place". so the 100ths place, 10ths place, 1's place, 10's place, 100's place etc.. each column had 10 numbers 0-9 underneath it so you could punch each number and then hit the "enter" button (at least it was a button and not a crank) and it would print it up and do the math on a roll of paper.

Some kids might remember falling asleep to the sounds of lullabys or bedtime stories. I have distinct memories of falling asleep to "clack clack clack clack clack clack" or " click click click click click click ....BRRRRUUUMMMPPPH" of course there was also the faint sounds of Johnny Carson and on the weekend that ever elusive show that I could never watch ...."Monthy Python" Sometimes my brother would listen to "Dr. Dimento" on the radio.

Wow, now that was a diversion. The point of this post though is all about how much parental interaction a child's education requires these days. This week I have successfully been up to 1:00 - 2:00 am helping a child with his major project that was due for Black History Month (funny how he never had a project like that when he was in the suburban school). Even Kt, my neurotic, study-aholic, over-achiever who does homework ahead of time and obsesses over the horror of an A- needed help on a assembling a video commercial for a spanish project last night. It was strange that her and her partner only filmed the segments the night before they were due and that my daughter actually left something to the night before. I was so perhaps there is a trace of me in there after all.

Of course I did not want to start this project at 11:00 at night when she asked for my help, but because she's a princess I went and assembled the video and added transitions and special effects and such anyways. Well it turned out being fun to do. I hope I get a good grade. I also better get a good grade on that black history project. I have to admit I learned some interesting facts. Despite my assistance on the project at least Ike learned the material. He knew his facts so I'm happy with that. I'm okay being his grammar and spelling checker on his paper and helping with display boards for the display board challenged such as Ike. That's why we had to move Ike from St. Pauls...soon they would notice that Ike's project display boards looked strikingly similar to Zach's project display boards.

In any case I will be looking for some naptime this weekend. I have to recover from 7th grade and 11th grade homework. In general though, I think education has decided that inundating kids with homework is the way to get kids ahead. I never ever had homework in this volume at these ages. Not even in high school. Something pretty weird had to happen for me to need to do homework at home. I think it is the schools way of off-loading some educational responsibility on parents. The parents will be forced to be interactive in their child's education because they are doing a few hours of homework at home everynight. I could not imagine having so much homework that I might have had to miss The Incrdible Hulk, The Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, The 6 Million dollar man and the Bionic Woman to do homework.... not to mention the after school programming of Beaver, the Brady's, I dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, and Gilligan's Island.

I believe that it also allows them to step up the material to a younger level. I did my first research paper ...a massive 6 pager at the end of 8th grade. If you got through it...truly you were ready for high school. It was considered THE paper of grade school existance..the Crusher. Ike has just finished his 4th 7-10 page paper in 7th grade. I had no Algebra in grade school at all (although it was coming to 8th graders was inconsistent across schools) now Ike is doing Algebra in 7th grade (granted he had to jump two grades ahead from his old school and it has been a challenge...It's starting to get there though). At least it is an excellent opportunity for me to go through Algebra again if I were hoping I could do it again.

Oh is easier this time I can pick on the wierdo's without getting in trouble this time...well until Karen tells me to stop picking on our kids.

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