The night before last Marvelous Mo’ had a homework assignment. Yes, a homework assignment is an amazing concept in First Grade, isn’t it? Well, it has been a constant since Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN! The technology in today’s classroom is amazing – if you can pay for it. We can quip about that later. Back to the task at hand. The assignment was Reading Comprehension. Mo’ must read The Three Bears (a tad immature for her) but read it nonetheless and then answer questions. Suffice it to say, I had to leave Mo’ to work independently because the compelling urge to do the work for her is grand! So I resist the temptation (plus Ms. Kindergarten Teacher last year reprimanded me at the Parent-Teacher conference) and take the Laissez faire approach.
In the assignment, the reader was supposed to answer some questions that were similar to this: ‘Why did Goldilocks…?” The child must answer “Goldilocks did [so and so]…”. However, the last question stumped sweet, intelligent Mo’. “Why did the three bears run out of the house?” Mo’ deliberated on this question for 20 or so minutes. Referring back to the story for re-reads several times. She finally came up to me and said:
Mo: “Mom I don’t get this question. I think I found a mistake. The three bears didn’t run out of the house. [She pointed to the paragraph in the story] Goldilocks did!”
Me: [grabbing story and ensuring her assessment was correct] “You are right Mo’. So why don’t you write that? We can let Ms. First Grade Teacher know in the AM.”
Mo: [the little opportunist that she is] “Can you write a note to my teacher that I recognized this BIG mistake so I can get a Paw Print at morning assembly?”
Me: “SureMo’ I will write a note and attach to your homework.” [Wrote sweet note to Ms FGT and patted Mo’ on the bum for great job at reading].
Yesterday evening, while trying to clear my Bad Mommy Name for missing the Thespian Performance all together, I asked Mo’ if she will be receiving her Paw Print at Morning Assembly for catching the mistake. Mo’s response rattled the cage of Protective Mommy-Bear something fierce:
Mo: “Um No! She said that the answer should be. ‘Goldilocks ran out of the house, not the three bears.’ See Mom. Isn’t that Crazy? I had to start the response with Goldilocks blah blah blah?”
Me: “What? That’s crazy. That’s a trick question. [I quickly squared up on Hubs like a lunatic who’s momma had been slapped] Who tricks a First Grader? That’s messed up!”
Mo: [Mo recognized my heightened sensitivity and protectiveness and amped it up a bit] “Mom she even discussed your note to the class ‘One mom wrote in saying that there was a mistake, but there wasn’t was there Morgan?’ Can you believe she did that to me AND you? “
Me: “Oh no she did-ant? Did she write me a note back Morgan?” [I started pacing like a caged tiger or lion at the zoo.. idiopathic something or other..}
Hubs: “I think we need to de-escalate this Mom. We don’t know what was said by Teacher. We do know that Mo’ was correct in her comprehension, she just didn’t exactly follow directions.” [or something to that effect, the chaffed ass was still diverting my attention]
The lesson from last night? Please be prepared for you and your kid to be thrown some curve balls. Try to be non-volatile enough to teach your child that we must follow directions, even if they don’t make sense to us at the time. I don’t know everything. I must additionally remind myself that I need to encourage Mo’ to stay within the confines of the rules/directions and to ask for help more often when she is wanting to step outside of the directives just because it doesn’t make sense to HER (and me). And lastly, well-done to Hubs for allowing me to regroup and focus on teaching Mo’ vs. supporting Mo’ even when she (and I for that matter) was wrong. Between you and me, Ms FGT could’ve written me a note “thanks for the note M3. We wanted the students to think about sentence structure and how to write while following the rules” or something to that effect. Now I have to go clean egg off my face, shirt, and shoes before the next Parent-Teacher Conference.