Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Parents Getting Fed Up

I was pleased to read this post at the DC Urban Moms Forum:

So far, my child hasn't had many projects that were basically for us to do but when they increase I might have to lead a revolution. Either that or send her to school carrying a shoebox with her name on it, which is all she'd get to if I weren't working on it.

First graders cannot construct Great Antarctic Explorers of Finland Perform the Comedies of Shakespeare in Drag out of elbow macaroni, tissue paper, and a glue stick. I have tested and confirmed this hypothesis.

I was less pleased to read this reply, from the usual smug Stepford Mom:

Some of you really do not get it! Projects are supposed to be done alongside a parent. It gives parents a chance to see what kids are doing at school and to asses their ability. Personally, I appreciate the time working with my child. When we do projects together I am just the "heavy lifter" We use my child's ideas and do a little brainstorming TOGETHER about the final product. I would not miss the opportunity to see my child research on the computer, get excited about learning and show them how excited and interested I am in their school work. Your enthusiasm and excitement fosters a life long learner and love of learning in your child. They will pick pick up on your negative attitudes and lazy work ethic too!

Not only are parents (read "mothers") assumed to have the time, energy, and intention to do homework with (more accurately, "to") their kids, but we're told what attitudes we're allowed to have. Be enthusiastic! Model a good work ethic!

Kids are perfectly capable of hating homework on their own, regardless of their mother's attitude. It's an imposition on their time, and they rightly resent it. The chirpiest Mom won't change their accurate perception that most homework is a pointless exercise in compliance.


  1. Don't get me started on projects! I'm still experiencing post-traumatic stress from last year's endless projects (my hatred for which I blogged about
    here). The second mother quoted above sounds as if she may also be a teacher . . . either that or she is indeed a true, Kool-Aid-imbibing Stepford Mom.

    (PS. Thanks to Chris for teaching me how to add a link in a comment.)

  2. northTOmom -- I'm afraid I may have done you a disservice with that lesson, because your link isn't working. I may have to go back to the drawing board and come up with some better instructions. In the meantime, I think the post you're referring to is here.

  3. Chris -- I did test it after I posted and seemed to work at that time. But you're right, it's not working now. (I'm sure your instructions were fine, but my execution less than stellar.) Thanks so much for taking the time to post the proper link.

  4. My normal M.O. with projects that my kids dream up for themselves is to just let them do what they want to do with no input from me. I plan to do the same with school projects when they come up.

  5. When I was in grade school and even middle school, all projects were done in class. Now they don't have time for projects so they throw them at the parents so they can say they do projects in that school. I don't think their idea of parents helping with projects fosters independence. In fact, most of their ideas of parents "partners" with the school, certainly promotes the helicopter style of parenting. It also robs us of the continually rarer "home time", already taken up by the daily homework. Every time our child gets a project, we groan, because we are assigned as well. We try to make him do as much as possible without us.

    I think they send a wrong message when they specify a parent work with a child on a project of which he is supposed to be accountable. If it's done in school, they are accountable to the teacher on their own, not with Mommy holding their hand. No project should go beyond what an average child is capable of by himself.

  6. Right, they send home work that no normal child could complete on his own, then complain about all the helicopter parents. You cannot win.