Thursday, February 28, 2008

Insanity 101

I hate the third grade.

I mean, it was okay when I was in third grade, but I hate that Emma and Joe are in third grade.

Okay, I don't hate third grade. But I do hate book reports.

Okay really, I don't hate book reports either, but I do think some things that they ask the kids to do in school are just NUTS!

Emma and Joe have to read one book a month. In addition, they have to do a written book report, consisting of at least 7 paragraphs. They also have to do an oral report on the book AND they have to complete a project, e.g. a diorama, a time line, a poster, which has to have almost as much writing on it as the written book report itself. AND, there can be NO typing, NO photocopies, and every single thing they use has to be hand made except for the paper! (I mean REALLY, they had to make little animals out of clay for their dioramas! NOTHING ready made!)

AND they have to do ALL 3 parts each and every month for the ENTIRE school year.

And let me tell you, when they are done with a book report, I actually feel like the calm, cool whiteness of a rubber-padded room might provide some welcome relief!

So, as if that wasn't bad enough, last night at 8:00 p.m. when I told Emma and Joe to put their homework away so that they could get ready for bed, they said that they couldn't go to bed yet because their book reports were due tomorrow.


I thought the book reports were due on Friday (they are usually due on the last day of the month), but no, the kids said with wide eyes, "Didn't we tell you they are due tomorrow?"


So, while we were well on track with about two more hours of work for book reports due on Friday, we were totally unprepared at 8 o'clock at night for book reports due the next day!

So the big debate was, do we let them stay up and finish, or do we make them go to bed, turn their book reports in one day late and thus face a deduction of one full letter grade for their tardiness?

Well, after much wailing and crying (I did eventually calm down), okay really, it was Joe and Emma crying, we let them stay up and finish.

And can I just tell you that only bright spot about the whole thing was watching Troy try to help the kids with their homework and make a valient effort to not lose it. You could hear him muttering, "Remember, they're only 8!"

Really, it still brings a smile to my face.

So here were are today, with two very tired kids sent off to school, book reports in hand.

And one nutty mom sitting here thinking, I have to do this again next month!



Sarah said...

Wow, that's quite the book report! Joe and Emma sound like me when I was in school. I think I stayed up till like 4a.m. once in my junior year of high school finishing this HUGE English project that was due the next day (but that I hadn't started till the night before). Ah... good times.

But my favorite is the time in college when Paul and I took the same music appreciation class and had to write a 10-page paper on some kind of world music. He worked on his for weeks, I started mine the night before and we got the same grade. It was truly awesome.

Kirsten said...

What ever happened to reading for the joy of reading? This excessive amount on inane homework is obviously a result of the uber-overachieving society that children grow up in.

I have yet to have an employer ask whether I created dioramas while in elementary school and if I felt that experience contributed to the type of person I am today.

I am ranting here, and I don't even have children. My hearts goes out to the little people in America's primary education system.


I can see maybe a quarterly report, but once a month sounds excessive to me!! Or should I say twice a month, in your case?

Lara said...

That's intense for 3rd graders and times two for you...that's painful!

Ben & Anne said...

Whatever happened to talking to the teacher(s) about all that work? Maybe when I taught 3rd grade I didn't push the kids enough (or should I say the parents?).

Hilary said...

Seriously, I'd talk to the teacher -- let her know it's not working for your family, that the kids (and you) are going insane over it.
See what she says.

Denise said...

I DID talk to the teacher.

And basically, what she said was, this is how we do it, and it's unfortunate that you are going crazy, but if they want a good grade, then they have to do the work.

So sad. Too bad.

Don't you love it?

Wood Clan in UT said...

So that's what 3rd grade is like in Virginia huh? I'll stick with 3rd grade in Utah. My Hannah is in 3rd here and she is just now approaching her first and only book report. Which sounds a lot like yours. I'm not looking forward to my twins being in 2nd grade. I can barely keep up with them in 1st grade. More and more, I am amazed at your parenting skills Denise!!!

Amy said...

I wish my kids had more work to do. Hannah is just now being challenged in 4th grade.

After first grade- I don't micro-manage homework and I don't get involved in projects. If you don't get it done- too bad so sad. I would however, let them stay up to do it as long as it didn't involve any help from me. I'm off the clock at 8 p.m.

Bottom line- your kids will be better and smarter for it. It's good for them to be challenged.

Melanie said...

It's not so much that it's too much work (although seems too much), but that it seems so unnecessary. How is slaving over a diorama really helping them get more out of the book? Isn't that more of an art project? The report should be enough and at least it's teaching them something! Just my two cents. I'm glad I've got a couple years away.

Kim said...

Hey I feel for you. I hate doing one book report per kid and you have twins!! you always were an overachiever! I think I almost have Char convinced to start a blog, she just has to name it first!!

Jolinda said...

Unbelievable!! Your title says it all! How many years did you say you were planning on staying in Virginia? Maybe next time around won't be so bad without doing double everything. I like that you are honest, because we all can relate on some level.

Although I think Amy may have the right idea....I just wish I could be so tough!!

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