Parent teacher conferences are coming up soon, and I’ll admit to a certain amount of nervousness towards them this year. Not because of anything that might be said about my daughter. She’s smart, witty, polite, friendly and too damn cute to be considered anything other than a pleasure to have in class I’m sure. I’m nervous about what might be said about me. I don’t always do my homework.
Every night we have a box of small flash cards to go through. Some are letters, some numbers, some beginner words such as “hat” or “car”. There are also words that rhymes must be found for and fifteen minutes of reading that need to be documented. None of it takes very long and because of my work schedule it’s much more often the responsibility of my wife than I. She seems to have no problem getting it done, so what’s my problem?
My problem is that I don’t want to do it, I want to go play. My daughter is five. I wake her up at 7:00 to start getting ready and she’s not home until 3:30. She wants to play too, and I don’t have nearly enough time to do that with her. There is dinner to be made and eaten, baths to take, episodes of Spongebob Squarepants that we haven’t seen yet. Reading has always been a part of her bedtime routine, but if we spend too much time at the playground or putting together railroad tracks to get to the rest, I don’t think that is going to inhibit her ability to get into the college of her choice later in life.
Education will always be highly prioritized and will never be confined solely to school. While playing we will count how many train cars are connected to each other, adding and subtracting them as we go. We’ll flip through our new Batman comic and try to sound out all the “pows” and “bams”. She’ll learn how to rhyme the old fashioned way, by listening to west coast gangsta rap.
Chances are that the subject will never come up, but if it does I’ll try not to take it as a personal questioning of my involvement or commitment to her learning. The National Education Association and The National Parent-Teacher Association both do not endorse homework for kindergartners so I’ll have that to back me up if necessary. I’m also fully prepared to say that the new dog ate my homework. That still works, right?