It’s no secret that I have had issues with kindergarten homework. Last fall, I got scolded by the teacher for not making my daughter follow directions and color.
(You can read the sordid details here.)
But it’s May now and my 6-year-old daughter and I have found our groove when it comes to kindergarten homework. I think it’s crazy for a kindergartner to have so much homework (6+ worksheets/week), but I’m not blaming the teacher necessarily. It’s just the world we live in and the high expectations now placed on our littlest learners.
That said, last week I realized that my daughter — my lovely, say-what-she-feels daughter — had been broken by kindergarten.
One worksheet was returned to us for correction.
The instructions were:
And the words had been:
Sydney had written the words in each sentence correctly (i.e., “The dog is yellow.”) and she colored the pictures. She’s not big on coloring coloring when it pertains to homework, but has been coloring these worksheets with pencil since the Fall when we were put on the non-coloring watch list.
So why was the paper returned?
Because she hadn’t colored the picture in the same color of the word (i.e., the teacher wanted the dog colored yellow to match the sentence “The dog is yellow.”)
But the directions don’t say that. They just say color the picture. Like I said, she’s been coloring these worksheets with her pencil since Fall 2012 when we forced into mandatory coloring. Plus, what color matches the word “for“? And are you telling me that some poor classmate probably colored the dog brown and got the worksheet returned for non-compliance? Hmph.
“We’re not doing that,” I told Sydney. “That’s silly. And, she’ll never care that we don’t send it back.” (They do not get letter grades in Kindergarten.)
“Mommy, nooooooo. We have to. Mrs. Teacher is going to get mad.”
“No, she’s not. Let’s not do this. You colored it. You’re fine.”
“Mommy, nooooo. I’ll do it. I’ll do it!”
And that’s when I realized she had been broken. Almost military-style. She didn’t care that technically we were right. She didn’t care that I was telling her not to do it. She was feeling the pressure to listen to her teacher and do what her teacher said.
So she colored. In matching color.
And then she turned it back in.
And, I think, she lost a little bit of that spark, that individuality, that is soooo her.
And that I will mourn.
You won this battle, kindergarten. But I will win the war for my daughter. Or go down trying.
Note: Last Fall when I published my post Rage Against the Kindergarten Machine, I got my first hate mail. If you are so inclined to pass judgment on me and my horrible parenting skills, remember two things. One, I have control over the publish/delete button for all comments. Two, there’s a reason this site is called Experienced **BAD** Mom. I’m not claiming to be perfect, people.