Just a short rant here. Do any of you with school aged children have to suffer with these odious things? I hate, hate, hate them. And I fought the battle against them last year. It chaps my ass that I have to do it again this year (and probably every year from here on out until T. gets out of elementary school). Can anyone tell me anything good about them? In the meantime, enjoy reading my latest teacher communication and then be grateful you don't have to deal with me as a parent. Yes, I suspect my children's teachers hate me. For your reading pleasure:
I mentioned in my note on T.'s log, I have a few thoughts I want to share with you about the reading/math log.
I am abrogating the responsibility for filling this out now that the first quarter is finished. Going forward, if this is part of his homework grade, then T. can fill it out himself. I will cheerfully enforce the reading and math facts practice but it will be his responsibility to write it down, not mine. I feel this is important for several reasons. This is not my homework. I no longer do homeowrk. It is his and therefore he should be the one doing it. If the point of the log is to teach responsibility and accountability, it is better served by making the child, who is more than capable ability-wise, fill it out and learn those lessons himself. If I do not fill out the log, there is no correseponding consequence for me. There is only a consequence for him. Rather unfair, don't you think? If it is his responsibility and he doesn't fill out the log two days in a row, he will not get a sticker on his calendar chart leading to the potential of not earning a homework pass. Logical consequence given to the actual culprit. Much fairer.
He filled out his own log last year for Ms. M. and it worked out fine. She told me that it is school policy for each child to have a reading log. I disagree heartily with the policy (I'll elaborate a bit below) but hope that you are willing to allow him to do this chore himself as she was given the reality of the policy. I'm certain that my stance is unpopular and as I understand it, he was the only child in first grade to have to complete his own reading log, but I think all of the children who are capable should be doing it themselves so if he's the only second grader doing as such as well, I am fine with that.
Quite honestly, I don't understand the whole reading/math log thing in general. I know that it is designed to ensure that children are doing their requisite amount of reading and math outside of school but in practice it doesn't actually measure this in any legitimate way. For starters, this method of tracking was originally designed for at risk student populations, clearly not the school dynamic at M.R. E. S. Even in the designated situations, it hasn't been successful. Human nature being what it is, parents sign off on logs whether their child has done the intended work or not.
My conversations with friends here, in other states, and even friends who are teachers themselves, while merely anecdotal and not statistically significant, has revealed that every last one of them has filled out the forms even when their children haven't done the work. And my small sampling consists of highly educated, driven people who quite value education. Not very promising with regards to the efficacy of measuring reading and math practice via logs. Quite honestly, I signed off on T.'s on Monday night despite the fact that he came home from school and fell asleep immediately, waking briefly to take Tylenol for his migraine before going back to sleep for the night. Now, I doubled his practice and reading time last night as a result but many nights that wouldn't be an option and honestly, as an overall trend, he gets more than enough. So should I have not signed the log and let him take the fall for not doing the work? How would that solution have benefitted anyone? Obviously this is just one example of how the logs fail and one of a million reasons why parents sign the log when the work hasn't been completed but it is instructive in the failures inherent in the logging process and requirement.
Perhaps as important as the trend towards fudging, I have also never met a parent who likes having to sign off on the daily logs. I am certainly among those who find it an annoyance. And it makes me curious, given the almost universal dislike of logs and its questionable efficacy why it continues to be such a focus in elementary school here. Out of the four elementary schools my children have attended over the years, this is the only one that uses this outmoded teaching tool.
I'll stop now but as you can tell, I loathe logs and question the use of them. I am all for parental involvement in children's education but not in this pointless and ultimately non-meaningful way. I am only there to help guide my children along the road to responsibility and accountability, not to take over these aspects of their education. I am always available to help with questions on homework but I certainly don't do even a portion of it for them. In this spirit, the log is now officially T.'s so expect his handwriting on it and no initialing on my part. I will make certain his work is completed (incidentally, I think his homework from last night is in his backpack, not in his folder, if my perusal of the folder this morning is anything by which to go) but he can take over the responsibility of letting you or the mom helpers know that it was indeed completed.
K., the offical parental pain in the ass
OK, so I didn't sign it this way but this *is* the letter I sent. If his folder already doesn't note that "Mom is difficult" I suspect this will have cemented that opinion and made it into the official record of note to be passed along with him forever and ever until the end of time, amen. As long as this teacher doesn't try to give me a lecture on the importance of reading (just in case I wasn't aware!), I think I can now rub along fine for the rest of the year, she says hopefully.