Mom Laments the Waning Days of Summer

Today’s the first day of school for many children and lots of parents are dreading the school year and the work it brings for them and their children. In The Villager, Chapter books and homework? Uh oh, look out, Jane Flanagan, the mother of a child going into second grade describes why:

Rusty will be going to second grade and neither of us is looking forward to it. Memories of first grade still linger. He just didn’t jibe with his teacher last year, and apparently when you are 7 that means you will not jibe with anything. Thank God he continued to behave well in class, but at home he was not pleasant to be around. And that kept up for a long… time.

Fortunately, Rusty did learn to read in first grade, but he isn’t what I’d call enthusiastic. This summer, thanks to an easily accessible local library, I’ve been taking out a stream of books in a desperate attempt to pique his interest. And there was one book he liked. It was about a kid who had a really lousy day at school. Things got so bad that the character went home at lunchtime to start over. The kid put on his pajamas, went to bed and counted to 10. Then he jumped up, got dressed and headed down to the kitchen for cereal. Rusty laughed so hysterically I couldn’t help but infer a cathartic element.

A glance at the lesson plan for second grade is not cheering me up, either. I see that chapter books start this year. Chapter books? Reading further down I spot a disclaimer. Picture books will “remain an important genre.â€? Thank God. We’ll be enjoying that genre for a long time to come. And then there is homework. At his school, homework begins in second grade. Judging from his violent reaction to the odd project that came home in first grade, this should be fun. I’m already trying to plot ways not to be the Homework Enforcer: Put him in after-school homework hours? Right. “No way mom!â€? Plead with my delightful 20-year-old babysitter to take on the role? Just how much do I have to pay her for that thankless task? Promise my husband I will do morning drop-off every single day this year if he’ll be the homework guy?”

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