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School Is Too Much Work For Parents

Photograph by Twenty20

I was just handed a sheet of paper from my kindergartener's teacher. It's a 26-day calendar. Every single day represents a letter of the alphabet and is themed. So, "A is for animal," "B is for bubbles" and "C is for Crazy Ideas" I made that last one up, but that's where I'm going with this. These are more than two dozen things my son is expected to bring to school or participate in during the last 26 days the school year. Meaning, these are more than 26 things I'm expected to prep in the next month and a half.

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I mean, I'm allllll for a spirit week to celebrate the end of the school year. But when I say " week" I mean week. Not 14 days and certainly not 26. Because the more fun my son has in school, the more work it seems to be for me.

Did I mention that they need parent volunteers for next week's Field Day and next month's end of school parties? My son has just started his school career, his little brother hasn't even started yet, and I'm already exhausted.

Parents need to be involved in their child's education—I am not arguing against that at all.

Parents need to be involved in their child's education—I am not arguing against that at all. I come from a large family of teachers. I get that parents need to be involved to make sure their children excel. But is making sure my son wears purple on a Friday really going to accomplish that? Or "M is for Mustache Day," meaning I have to either make one or run out and buy one for him to wear? Is this foundational to success in life? Who knows.

I love that my son's school is creating fun ways for my him to learn. We already had color week and shapes week, and yes, each day I had to prepare him in some way, whether it was wearing pink stars on his shirt on Tuesday or wearing a red T-shirt on Thursday. A week was a struggle for me though.

If I get this much homework now, what in the world will it look like next year?

I check over my son's homework with him every week. We read together every night, whether it is a school day or not. I thought the end of the school year meant that my life as a school mom would slow down a bit, not speed up and end with a roar of 26 days of "W is for Water Play Day." I know, I know, an extra change of clothes isn't that big of a deal. But coming off of 22 disruptions to our nighttime routine, well, even digging up a bottle of sunscreen feels exhausting.

You may be laughing by now, or thinking I'm just a lazy mom who doesn't want to see her kid have fun. That's not true. I'm just an overwhelmed mom looking at kindergarten, the first year of formal schooling for kids, and wondering what could possibly be in store in first grade.

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If I get this much homework now, what in the world will it look like next year? My youngest will be in PreK next year, and kindergarten is coming up fast for him, too. When both of my boys have 26 days to count down at the end of the school year, will I be well-versed in how to juggle both kids stuff, and all I have to do to prepare (seriously, there is crafting involved on my part, and I'm not crafty) and get them out the door.

When does school actually slow down for parents? Right now it feels like after college graduation.

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