I love my son’s progressive school, but sometimes the homework, OMG. It always has to be meaningful and topical and it really makes me miss the mimeographed worksheet busywork of my youth.
Like in Math, they had to write their Math Autobiography.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“We’re supposed to write what math means to us.”
“Ok,” I had no idea what he was talking about.
The next day, no sooner had I come home, he ran up to me.
“I have to interview you,” he announced.
“Why?” I asked. I have my lawyer on speed dial and I don’t remember being read my Miranda warning.
“Because it’s my homework,” he said as though that explained anything. “Question one: what was I like as a four year old?”
Ok. Mid-blog post pop quiz: If you have children that are older than 10, can you remember what they were like at 4, without resorting to videos, photographs or memory regression therapy? Because I can’t.
“Let’s see,” I started. “Yes, four. I remember you turned four some time after you were three, if I’m not mistaken.”
I noticed that he wasn’t writing anything down.
“You enjoyed books.”
“I enjoyed books?”
“Yes. Yes. Didn’t you?”
“I’m not writing that.”
“Well that’s all I remember,” I confessed.”What are you writing?”
“Mom doesn’t remember,” he said.
“Don’t write that!” I started to panic. The last thing I need is for his teacher to know that I’m the type of mother who has a life outside of her children and possibly suffers from early onset dementia.
“I remember something! That’s the year you fell at Toby’s house and got that scar on your forehead.”
“That was when I was five,” there was a twinge of disappointment in his voice. Like he was two questions away from asking where his real mother was.
“Do you remember anything about me at 4?” he asked.
“I…remember that you were cute,” I said. Hey, that was a start. Maybe I could do this!
“You were also short,” I continued. “And young. And scarless.”
He wrote everything down, looking mildly disgusted.
“I can look at some videos and get back to you,” I offered.
“That wasn’t the assignment,” he closed his notebook.
That night, as I went in to look over his homework, I lingered on his Music worksheet.
If you play a musical instrument, please describe what that experience has been like for you, the question read.
And then there was an answer.
One day I said to my mom, I want to try piano and she said ok and then after a week I said I don’t want to play anymore and now it’s 8 years later and I’m still forced to practice.
And that’s how our first full week of school went. I’m exhausted already.