School vs Paper

By: Laura M. Phillips

Have you ever noticed what our schools actually teach our children? If they learn nothing else, they learn save paper. Yes, you heard me right. Any parent can tell you the one thing they get snowed under with, is paper!!! And you wonder why trees are endangered? It's perfectly clear to me.

See, my daughter has learned well, and it's not just using the paper that I'm talking about. Kids have to bring home and present the parents with at least 30 sheets a day!!! Anything less is just shameful.

How can you argue? So, when my daughter walks in the door, this "pile" suddenly appears on my desk. Now mind you, it's MY fault that my desk is located right next to the front door, and is the central receiving area for everyone and everything!! But this pile takes precedence over anything else that may or may not be going on. And as a parent, I want to see what my child is doing........who wouldn't? But the timing might not be optimal.

She's insistent that it's all important and it has to be done "right now"! Now, when you tell your child to do something you expect them to do it right then, so trying to say what they have can wait is a losing battle.

So much for authority.

I start flipping through this pile, reaching page 8 and desperately wanting a paper shredder. Nothing but Ads, with one piece of school work mixed in to throw you off track !! Buy this, earn the school money by buying something no one ever needs or would want. And those Pizza drives? Enough to put anyone in the hospital for a week!

Now, we all want to do our part. We know that our taxes are not nearly enough to pay all those salaries for all these top notch teachers (yeah right). But I do mind having my child try to shame me into something I don't want, all so she can win some great prize.

Yeah, I'll buy $300.00 worth of pizza's so my child can WIN that very same walk man that I could buy for $9.99 at K-Mart. Do they really think we are that insane?

NO, they know we are not. But they do know we cannot stand the sniveling of a child wanting to come in first for there grade and win the "big" prize.

Competition is good, but what ever happened to limiting that to sports?

The solution:

Send the child to her Aunt, she buys her everything anyway!!

Problem solved, for this week. Or is it?

Now that we can't reach Auntie by phone (after all she does work), we have to sulk around the house until she can be reached. This means we can't start on something as UN-important as homework. We'll spend the next two hours calling Auntie every 2 minutes to see if she's home yet.

So I go about my daily routine, waiting patiently for the daily crisis to be over and having Auntie say she'll buy the pizza's. Our next problem arises when Auntie will only buy $260.00 worth of pizza's, she has to buy some from the neighbor child too, to keep things fair.

Fair? What's more important here, your niece graduating from Elementary School, or the neighbor kid winning a walk man? Shoot, I'll buy them both one!!! Thinking I'd at least keep my sanity. Wrong.

The next two hours are arguing over the remaining $40.00 worth of pizza. I'll agree these make great Frisbees, and our dogs won't ruin them as quickly. But is that worth $40.00?

I guess so..........poor dogs.

Four hours after arriving home from school, we are finally ready to start homework. Oh yeah?

A child can find 5,000 reasons to stall on this task. And to further raise your blood pressure, it will now take an additional 4 hours to do homework (that I'm assured of by teachers shouldn't take longer then 20 minutes......TOPS!).

Let's start with math.

I'll always remember my father telling me "You may not be the brightest kid in the world, but you have more common sense then all my friends put together". This has gotten me through life, believe it or not. But math I was smart in, I was a straight "A" student in math even. The only A's I ever got in school.

What planet are these teachers from anyway? Have you looked at the books your child is learning from? And where did they transport my daughter to during class, since she obviously didn't hear a thing!

I have to cry foul, I never learned the language your planet speaks and cannot figure these math problems out. I can't even read the problem!!! This is 4th grade math?

In desperation, I send her to her father for help. Why I do this, I'll never know. But someday, maybe?

After an hour of those two yelling at each other, she comes back over to me, *sigh*.

Ok, we can do this. After all, how many ways could there be to add, subtract, multiply and divide?

Don't ask, it's always fatal.

So I tackle the problem, again. Common sense tells me these people are idiots, and in two minutes I could do all 50 problems. But, that's not good enough. It has to be done their way.

I struggle, and I'm having such a hard time I decide to send out an SOS to my son, via the internet. He asks what the problem is, so I type it out in great detail, leaving out nothing!!

His response: "Huh?"

Great, my genius son (who took after me and got straight "A's" in math) can't figure it out, now what?

Mom: Let's start with an easy one. We'll start on this page. Ok, what's 3798 + 1645 ?
Child: 4000
Mom: HUH? How did you get 4000?
Child: 3 +1 is 4, so it's 4000
Mom: *sigh* Front end estimations? Ok, but did you know that using that "great" logic isn't necessarily going to be anywhere close to the correct answer? And why doesn't it say here that's what they want?
Child: Mom, it's going to be the right answer, trust me.

So much for common sense, or even logic!!

This goes on for the next two hours or so, until all 50 questions are done. After 4 years of stressing how important homework is and it HAS to be done, I'm ready to shoot myself for teaching her that lesson. She won't go to bed until it's all done!!

I don't even ask what other homework she has and try to get her off to bed without her noticing. Never works, but I agree to get up early and work on it with her. And I always end up having to write an excuse letter.

After all, we all have our limits, and at midnight, I turn into a pumpkin!!

This year, it's 5th grade. Wonder what I'll learn !!?!!

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