Jesse’s second grade class gets these little pamphlets called “book talk,” in which they practice composition by responding to questions about a book they’ve read in class. I don’t know who comes up with this crap. “Fox thought the sky was falling. Would you ever believe the sky is falling? Why or why not?” That just slayed me. Jesse was flummoxed too. She could only answer the first question, thus: “No.” Accompanied by a helpless shoulder shrug untranslatable to paper. The second question stumped her completely. She became overwhelmed by anxiety, because she was supposed to write FIVE sentences about this absurd subject. Also she couldn’t answer technically because she doesn’t yet have any real concept of what the sky IS, let alone why it can’t “fall” in the thumpy sense of a rock. So Jesse was falling apart, in tears. Anthony and I had to intervene. Anthony gave it a go, dictating the following extended response to the question: “No. Because that is stupid.”
Notably, this didn’t help Jesse’s mood. We ended up having a long talk, full of all kinds of useful and profound advice. Sometimes schoolwork is stupid, but you have to do it anyway. When it’s lame, just write something stupid and don’t worry about it. Mommy and daddy won’t judge. Second graders should think in short sentences, not long sentences, and say obvious things. Then you will be able to write five sentences about anything. Stuff like that. There are a lot of good reasons why Anthony and I never considered home schooling.
Today Jesse pulled a book talk thingy out of her backpack and, among other things, showed me this question:
My interest was piqued. This is what she wrote:
Five sentences, reducing Anthony and me down to our parental essences. Anthony gets creepy thoughts out of Jesse. That is amazing. If I were Anthony, I’d be walking around on cloud nine right now, thinking to myself, my daughter just told me I rescue her from the monsters in her head. Awesome.
As for me, I helped Jesse make short sentences. Now I’m walking around thinking to myself, my daughter just told me I advised her to dumb it down. Put me on the list for mother of the year again.