This post again combines my job as director of all things curriculum, instruction, and assessment with my family life. As I said before, I have four children — two are grown, married with children, and living in their own homes; two are at home with my husband and me. My eleven-year old daughter is zany, artistic, loving, funny, beautiful, smart, and very musical, and she needs additional time and support to be successful academically. We spend a lot of time doing homework — A LOT of time!!! Now in seventh grade, she has brought home more worksheets this year — note that it is late November — than all other years combined. What’s important to note is that what would take my son 15 minutes to finish, might take my daughter one hour. See what I mean by spending a lot of time doing homework?
Last week we were sitting at the table struggling through an Absolute and Relative Location two-page worksheet. Each page contained ten questions. She had to plug in a location, to which the Google page spit back the latitude and longitude, and then she had to write down this information. She had to do this ten times over. Then as if that weren’t enough, she had to go back and for each location give three relative descriptions. It was mind-blowing torture. She, of course, asked the ubiquitous question, “When am I ever going to use this, Mom?” To which I had no reply because I’ve never used this in my adult life. Never.
As we continued to slog through, she ran to her computer and pulled up a Google image page and showed me the LGBTQ flag with the No symbol through it. I figured she needed a worksheet break, so I asked her about this image, and she was pretty upset that anyone would fly or post this image as it would be mean to those struggling with identity (yes, those were her words). I asked her what she thought she might do about that. She had already pondered this and wanted to send an email to her teacher and the principal asking if they could put up an LGBTQ flag. She wanted students to know they are welcome at her school.
She dictated and I typed the email (typing is another skill that requires a great deal of concentration and can be frustrating for her). She choose the image below and asked if they could hang something like this in the hallway near the entrance of the school . She was so nervous, excited, and anxious about hitting send. At this point, I didn’t have the heart to return her attention to the worksheet.
The next morning, she came flying downstairs to tell me that her principal had responded, thought it was a great idea, and wanted her to go see him after lunch. She asked her social studies teacher to help create and supervise a Civil Rights Team at her school.
What I find so interesting is that this teacher hasn’t helped my daughter to connect this interest and passion to the social studies curriculum. How amazing would it have been if this could have replaced the current event article that she had to report out on via Google form, or if an individual project was crafted for my child connected to locations that are struggling with this issue and have my daughter look at why or what is happening in the culture. Nope.
Next week there will be another worksheet hot off the copier that will list two topics, ask her to choose one, look it up, and report out on it. She will spend hours writing down information on this worksheet, and she will turn to me and ask, “Mom, why is this important?” I will have no answer. Again.