Two weeks ago, The Pea came home from school with something new — a homework folder. Yes, folks, after breezing through kindergarten and first grade with occasional, entertaining projects called "homework" (to make the kids feel grown up, I suppose) we've now moved on to the Real Thing. Homework with a capital H. Daily reading, logs, journals and worksheets.
It has been three weeks now, and we are still struggling with it. Case in point: the night of the Two-Hour Homework. The Pea was given what I thought would be an easy-peasy assignment: write a letter to the school custodian, nurse or secretary. She was quite excited about it and actually wanted to write a letter to all three. What marvelous enthusiasm, I thought, that's my Type-A girl! With my most encouraging smile and let-me-know-if-you-have-any-questions reassurances, I left her at the kitchen table with her paper and pencils and crayons.
I lost myself on the internet; almost an hour later, I wandered backdownstairs to see how she was doing. I found her staring into thinair, doodling aimlessly. All this time, she had been thinking aboutwhat to write! I gave her a few suggestions and we spent a few minutestalking about what she wanted to say. I went back upstairs, confidentthat I had given her some direction. Twenty minutes later I went tocheck on her again, only to find that she still hadn't writtena single word. The Pea was drawing intricate little pictures allaround the paper because she wanted it to look nice for Miss Sheilabefore she started writing the words down.
So I plunked myself down beside her. Ignoring her protests that shestill hadn't finished drawing and could she please add some moreflowers, I sternly told her to Start Writing. For the nexttwenty minutes I watched her write and prodded her when she stalled,making both of us miserable. I was in panic mode: She can't even finish one letter let alone three it'stime to eat now we'll have to have peanut butter sandwiches for dinnerthere's no more time to finish this stupid thing I should have knownbetter guilt guilt guilt should I let her stay up late to finish it orshould I wake her up early what a disaster what is this schoolyeargoing to be like??Continued on the next page