Tall came home with what was probably his 788th Parent Communication & Information Sheet (PCIS) this month. I gingerly placed it in the teetering stack with the other 787 PCIS’s. A week, possibly four weeks, went by, and I decided it might be a good idea to read it. Here’s what it said:
“Dear Parent/ Caregiver,” (editor’s note: never ‘Reluctant and Harried Caregiver’—have they never met me?)
“Here at Crazy Town Elementary, we place great importance on teaching our children about the world in which they live, specifically the United States of America. To that end, we will be sending home worksheets every night (for 50 nights, plus 1 extra for Puerto Rico, which is technically a U.S. territory) for you to help your child with. Please have your child write down one interesting fact about the particular state chosen for that day (ex. Massachusetts became the 6th state in 1788). We will read these fun facts aloud in class!
Thank you in advance for your continued involvement and participation in your child’s future as a bright and shining Star!
Oh, brother. Here we go again: more homework for Mom.
Okay, MOV, let’s put aside the negative attitude and get involved, just like Miss Teacher already thinks we are.
First, I start going through the recycling bin, as I think the first 20 states or so might have, ahem, inadvertently been thrown in there. No luck. (Damn The Husband, taking out the recycling in a timely and reasonable manner!)
That’s okay, I tell myself, there are still 30 states to go, plus Puerto Rico.
When Tall gets home, I greet him at the door, ready to assist with difficult homework assignments.
“What’s with the goofy grin, Mom?” he sneers.
“Let’s do your state homework!” I say enthusiastically. “Which state did you get today?”
The next three days go, I think, quite well. On the 4th day, Miss Teacher sends a special PCIS not for all the parents, but specifically aimed at me (my name is even scribbled hastily into the “Dear ___________” section at the top of the page).
“Dear MOV ,
I think it is great that you are choosing to actively participate in your child's learning experience. However, I would like to stress the necessity for the State ‘facts’ to, in fact, be factual. Although I appreciate your helping your child with this section of the homework, you might want to just have him Google some facts on the computer. In the meantime, I have taken the liberty of sending home an atlas from our school library for you to peruse. You might want to consider possibly investing in an inexpensive atlas like this, or if that is a financial hardship, I can look into donations from the Scholarship Fund for this purpose.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing your child do the kind of work that I know he is capable of.
Scholarship Fund???? Has she never seen me wear my $249 jacket from Talbot’s?! or Tall use his $43 StarWars backpack from Pottery Barn Kids? We don’t need financial assistance from the Scholarship Fund!
I re-read the letter for the 3rd time. Huh. That is really what she wrote. I go through Tall’s backpack to reacquaint myself with whatever “facts” Tall and I dreamt up for this assignment.
- “Texas is really really really really Big.” (included is a drawing on a piece of paper, and Texas looks the size of a small mouse)
- “I think Arizona is where the Grande Canyon is lokated.” (I can't remember if he asked me if "Grand" had a letter "e" at the end; surely that can't be my fault?)
- “Alaska is a state that has a lot of snow and cold ice and glaciers, and also my mom wants to go their on a cruz somedaay.”
(“Mom’s On Vacation”)