Each day my youngest son comes home from school is quite an experience. (He's a high school freshman -- all-boys Catholic high school -- first year at school-school since kindergarten.) I always ask how his day was, and then I ask if he received any homeworks, tests, papers back with grades -- it's a constant accounting of the grades at this point. Some teachers send weekly progress reports, and the school sends bi-weekly interim grade reports, but no parent likes surprises, so I like to keep track as we go.
Because Noah was homeschooled for all of grade school, there has been more of a learning curve for him, and in ways I could not have anticipated.
I already mentioned in a previous post the problem with homework. There is none at home and there is a lot at school. He needed to have homework in his final few years at home. Just to prepare for working on his own and the longer day.
Deadlines have been an issue, because at home I told him what he did and he did it. He didn't have to plan ahead, no long term deadlines.
He also didn't have to be particularly neat. I know I should have demanded it, but if I could read it, I let it go. If you have a child who will eventually go to school, you might learn a lesson here. Noah's religion teacher says "if it looks like trash it goes in the trash." That includes spelling errors, too (they don't get trashed, but if the answer to the question is "catechumen" and you spell it "catechuman" it's just the wrong answer, no credit for knowing). If, however, your handwriting is messy or the paper is dog-eared, it goes right in the garbage. No credit.
Today I actually laughed at loud at the ridiculousness of school in general. I'm not anti-education, but I have seen both sides and I know that a lot of what is wrong with education is intolerance and ignorance of what is important in life.
Noah has not gotten the art of "headings" down. At home he didn't have to write his name on the paper or the date. He handed his papers right to me and I graded them. So here's another lesson to learn if you will be dealing with school at some point: teach them how to head a paper. Noah's English teacher is a lot less tolerant of his mistakes than some other teachers. So far, out of five or six homework papers he hasn't gotten the heading right yet. And instead of bringing him up to his desk and showing him the right way, the teacher uses his passive-aggressive red pen and scribbles all over the paper. The homework that came home today was the last straw. I could not believe that he even originally scored the paper 16/20 but then decided to take off three additional points for the wrong heading and actually changed the grade. Heavy sigh. I raged for ten or fifteen minutes before I just decided to sit down and rant to you, dear friend.
Tell me what is the point in writing something like this? Is he just an angry, frustrated man and this is the only way for him to vent? Because you and I both know that this does not teach. This belittles. It shames. It sickens me.
Fortunately Noah shrugged and said "I know how to head the paper now, mom," but I don't know if he really does, and I don't know if he felt just stupid and worthless after reading that remark.
I know that there are much better ways to teach, and the system of education in this country rarely gets it right.