Thursday, March 22, 2012

1st grade in the 21st Century

I know I'm probably whining a bit much on this topic. But I just cannot get over how different 1st grade is these days. Definitely not your Mama's 1st grade! 

For example, this week, the girls are starting a unit on geometry (plane and solid shapes) and fractions. Fractions. In 1st grade.

They've been doing public speaking for a while. This week, Claire will deliver a 3 minute speech she wrote on her favorite kind of weather. Aeron already gave her speech this month. Hers was on the different series of quarters issued by the US Mint since 1999. Complete with examples glued to a foam board.

It's not that I don't think they can handle the ideas. Clearly, a 6 year-old can grasp the concepts. But what they can't do is apply themselves to their homework without a parent standing over them. Here's how a typical school afternoon goes in my house.

2:45pm - pick girls up from school, after yelling for them to get off the play structure and git in the damn car.

3pm -  discuss the whys and wherefores of what's on the snack menu. Produce the agreed upon snack. Snack is consumed.

3:15pm - Begin the homework struggle. The twins must be separated. Preferably on different floors of the house. Reading is first. Generally, they bring home a short book from school. On day when this systems breaks down, they choose one from their collection. They must read it 3 times. For some reason, reading works better at full volume.

3:55-ish - Reading is over and homework folders are produced. The girls have the month's assignments and they choose with one they want to do each day. Examples: "Go stargazing with an adult in your family. Take turns thinking of words that describe stars." or "Draw a picture of your favorite breakfast foods." or "Count the windows, doorknobs and rooms in your home. Display your results in a chart."

While I salute the wide varieties of ways the school is attempting to get the kids to examine and interact with their environment, I just come back to... how in the hell do they expect me to get two 6-year-old girls to count f**king doorknobs w/o losing my shit?!?! Seriously. Try it. It ain't pretty.

Around about 5pm, things are either very bad or over. If I've been particularly persuasive, the girls are done and outside playing. If Mama hasn't performed her parental judo very well, there's a great deal of whining and complaining. Sometimes tears and stomping. But hey! It's 5pm, so I can always pour a glass of wine and surrender to the forces of chaos.


  1. Well, at least you have a 2 story home!

  2. Well I can't do anything about the state standards of education, which dictate the standards for 1st grade. I might be able to help you use a teacher trick that might make this a bit less painful.
    Have you tried using a phoneme phone with the girls during reading. They wear (if its a headset) or hold (traditional handset) the phoneme phone and whisper read, they can then hear themselves reading at "full volume" while those around them hear only a whisper. They work great and kids love them.

    Other than that you have given me something to think about if I am ever able to assign homework again, though ideally when I have assigned homework I have tried to keep it at the level where a student can do it on their own and just have their mom/dad look it over. Still, it also sounds like there is too much homework for their age and that is something I think i have been guilty of in the past. As a former teacher, I apologize. :)



  4. Dear TGG-I don't really blame the teachers. And I can't even imagine how kids w/ both parents that work and/or single parents get thru this stuff. Oh, and let's talk about the "family project" of the leprecaun trap! I was ready to kick someone in the shins over that ordeal. Luckily, Daddy mostly handled that one while Mama enjoyed her wine in her Boudoir.