At This Time Of Year, Some Things Just Have To Slide

Another one came home this week.  Just a short note from the teacher.  Just a request for a ‘few minutes of your time’.  This time it was for sight words and letters from E3’s kindergarten teachers.  I nearly broke down, just looking at it.  I know they all mean well, all these professionals, with their short little daily exercises that will surely help my children improve.  But here’s the thing folks:

there are only 24 hours in any day.

Until someone re-adjusts our clocks, that’s all we’ve got.

Our kids get off the bus somewhere between 3:45 and 4 pm.  If you are wondering why there is such a huge variance, it is because our school board is trying to save money.  To do so, they have re-arranged bell times and now have more bus drivers doing more routes.  Any small delay on any one of the 3-4 routes our driver does in a day just snowballs by the time the last kids are dropped off.  But that’s a different rant.

Mother and Child on Slide Circa 1954 From Seattle Municipal Archives
Child on slide, circa 1945 Item 64090, Ben Evans Recreation Program Collection (Record Series 5801-02), Seattle Municipal Archives.

When they tumble through the door, the three of them are likely hungry, since their two nutrition breaks mean they have to wolf down their food in two 20 minute increments.  They are also tired, especially if it’s Thursday, when E3’s class must go tramping through the woods for two hours for ‘Forest School’, regardless of the weather.

They may be cold, wet, tired, hungry, or all of the above.  After feeding them enough to stave of imminent starvation and locating dry socks, I go through the backpacks and I sign the planners.  I file permission forms and book order forms.  Then I pull out the home reading books.  And the homework books.  And the sight word ring.  And the 10-30 spelling words.  And any class work that didn’t get finished.  And let’s not forget the 20 minutes they should be using the computer for their online math program.

But school isn’t the only place they have homework.  They have memory verses for Sunday School and lines to memorize for the Christmas pageant.  Of course, the school is holding a ‘Holiday Pageant’ again this year.  Each of my kids will be participating, sometimes more than once, and since it is spread out over more than a week, I will have to head out multiple times.

And then there’s some other normal life stuff here.  E3 attends speech therapy.  In addition to weekly sessions, there is  homework there as well.  Little friends come calling – I have gotten tired of turning their sad faces away every night.  They have chores to do – because around here our home is a group effort.

Then you have the audacity to send me home notes ‘reminding’ the parents of your students that it is important that they get proper nutrition and a full night’s rest this time of year.  I am not sure why you cannot hear me screaming in frustration from here.

I am not going to ask for your forgiveness on this one or even offer a half-hearted apology.  I will just give it to you straight: there are going to be days when this does not all get done.  Days when the 20 minutes of home reading has been skipped in lieu of listening to the details of my daughter’s day.  Days when those sight words won’t leave the mail bag because E3 needs to eat and sleep more than he needs to recognize more words.  Days when I let E1 skip all of it and go outside and play street hockey with the neighbour kids, because friends can be hard to come by for him.

And that’s it.  Some of your ‘request’ (and they are just that), are going to slide.  And that’s just the way it’s going to be.

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