Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fourth Grade Going on Forty!

Poor Michael. He went back to school today to start the fourth grade. For those of you who do not live in the area, you should know that Michael goes to year-round school and yes, it is just as annoying as it sounds. He had one week off between third and fourth grade. Now, granted, this eliminates the need for so much review at the beginning of each school year, but for the families, well, it means no summer vacation at all. Honestly, it sucks.

So being a newly crowned fourth grader, Michael came to us with a request. He is nine. Almost ten. He believes that his bed time should be later to compensate for his growth and wisdom. It really must be rough for him to be the youngest in the house. He so badly wants to be big. He wants the same privileges as his much older brother and when we try to explain to him that it is just not possible, well, you can imagine the response we get!

I tried to take him seriously tonight at the dinner table when he made his request. I listened intently as he plead his case and then I made a deal with him - if he wakes up on time for one full week without yelling or crying or whining or carrying on, then we will make his bedtime 30 minutes later. To him, this was sufficient but as his mother, I am well aware that there is NO chance of him accomplishing this goal. We finished eating and I thought we were done.

Now we tackle his homework. Yes, homework on the first day of school!! Honestly I think it is INSANE what is expected of kids in school today. He had eight pages of homework. EIGHT! I guess his bedtime will be increased because he'll be up all daggone night doing his homework! It's kind of my fault that he is working on it so late. I really did not believe that there would be homework tonight so when he got off the bus this afternoon, I took him swimming at a friend's house. We came home, had a snack, hung out and then I was like "Hey, did your teacher send home any paperwork for me today?" and out it all came! There were like a dozen forms for me to fill out and then at the very bottom of the pile was his homework. There has been much whining, crying and carrying on now - mostly from Frank!

My husband and I are from a different generation. When we were in elementary school (back in the 70's for crying out loud!), the work load was no where's near what it is now. Kindergarden was half day and that included nap time and play time! Grades one through three were fairly light and fourth grade, things did get a bit tougher but not eight pages worth of homework on the first night! So not only am I dealing with the nine year old being annoyed and upset over all of the homework, but I've got his dad carrying on too! I had to pull Frank aside and tell him to SHUT IT! I mean, the boy takes his cues from us and if dad is carrying on that the assignment is unfair, who do you think is going to take that attitude to school with him tomorrow and share it with the teacher? The same boy who once told his second grade teacher that she talked too much while giving a spelling test!!

I was sitting in my room watching the Michael Jackson Memorial - the condensed version - and Michael came walking in; clearly taking a break from the work. He sits down next to me and says "Mom, you know how you said that if I got up on time for five days that I'd get to go to bed a half hour later?" So I said yes and he's like "Well if I do it for ten days, can I stay up an hour later?"

Sure, when it comes to bedtime math he's like rain man, but fourth grade math and it takes him all daggone night to get it done!!


Roo said...

The bed time math... that's funny.

Good luck with the homework. It really isn't right that kids have so much to do these days.

We had year round school here in Colorado when I was in school (70's). We were the test for it. We at least had about 2 months off at a time. Our school year started in October and we went to early February. We would go back late March/early April and then our school year was over in August. There were different tracks that had different vacation schedules. Our holiday breaks were shorter, but we at least had decent vacation time.

Good luck with the bedtime adjustment.

Alicia said...

When I was younger I went to a Christian private school and they gave so much homework my parents switched me to a public school.

They played the memorial at the movie theater. I watched some of it and man, when MJ was a kid he could belt it!

A.Marie said...

Oh Wow...I'm so glad that we don't have year-around school here. I don't think my nerves could stand it. The amount of homework that my teen son had EVERY NIGHT this past school year was enough to send me over the edge.

It really is seems that the more homework that my teen son did, the less he understood about the subject!! There is such a thing as over-kill! :}