There I was, sitting in the tiny blue chair, parked at the miniature desk. My knees were hiked up to my chest as I listened to the teacher explain all the rules, procedures and expectations.

I looked up to her, Simone’s first grade teacher. I had no choice. She stood during the talk while we parents sat in little seats. I took a few notes and asked a couple of questions. I don’t know about any of the other 20 or so parents packed into the classroom that day, summoned there by the teacher, but I definitely feel like I am going to first grade again.

There is math homework and reading homework and spelling homework. Real homework. There are grades. No more of that wimpy smiley face and check mark stuff from kindergarten. It’s my duty, I learned, to explain a 99 is still an A.

My mom had it so easy. I went to school, and she did whatever came naturally. She didn’t have to check and sign first grade homework, at least I don’t remember her doing so. She didn’t read to me every night and then write down the books in my reading log. There were no classroom blogs or constant emails.

First grade is going to be a lot of work, not only for Simone, but for me. Her teacher was whipping the parents into shape, telling us the dos and donts. I tried to be a good student, but I thought it would never end. My mind wandered, my knees ached. Finally, first grade boot camp for parents ended. I extricated myself from the tiny chair, unfolded my legs, and graduated back into adulthood.

Simone’s first spelling test is on the horizon. I quizzed her on the first list of 10 words, and she asked me what I was doing.

“Helping you study for your spelling test.”


We’ll do a mock test before the big day, because I want to show her teacher this big kid student listened well.



3 thoughts to “Mommy First-Grader

  • J

    I hear you! My baby’s homework is more work for me than I bargained for! I had no idea I would have chores at the end of each day too! I get in trouble (from her) if I forget to dutifully sign the folders 🙂

  • Blanc2

    Education begins and ends in the home. The school’s role is merely to facilitate education for those who seek it. Most other cultures get this but Americans seem to miss the point and assume that somehow schools possess a magic wand that can instill learning into children. All of that stuff you do is critical.

    The classical model of education views the three phases thus: Grammar (grades k-5) — literally, learning factual information and reciting it; Logic (grades 6-9 approximately) — learning to perform logical operations using the factual information learned in Grammar; Rhetoric (grades 10-12) — learning to craft complex arguments or proofs by applying logic to facts.

    • Honeysmoke

      I agree.

      I hate that some parents have to be told what to do, how to do it and how often to do it. For example, we read to Simone and Nadia every single night of the week, and they absolutely love it. Why do I have to prove that to the teacher? Well, because some parents won’t do it if they don’t have to be held accountable. That’s truly sad.

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