Homework, Homework, Homework!!

Dear teachers of my children,

You know I think you are superstars: you care about my two favourite humans, and you teach them amazing things. I am usually one of your biggest supporters. Usually. Just not today. Today, you have made me Lose. My. Shit.

Why, you ask? Oh, I think you know. But just in case you don’t:
Last week, Master 9 came home with his assignment to make a show ride. Said show ride must have “at least one moving part”. Hhhmm, ok then.

The next day, Master 11 comes home with the task of constructing a suitcase – from scratch – out of either cardboard or balsa wood (ok, so it’s definitely going to be cardboard because I don’t even know where to buy balsa wood). The suitcase needs to be realistic for the time period in which it was used. Our interviewee migrated from Italy to Australia on a ship; I am doubtful that a suitcase made from cardboard would have survived that journey but I will humour you for the purpose of the assignment.

This is not the point at which I lost it. Not even when he came home and said we have to make the hinges on the suitcase. (Ok, so maybe I did lose it a bit then, but not as much as the meltdown of epic proportions that occurred today).

Today, the 11 year old produced another assignment: to construct something out of cardboard that has a battery, circuit, and working light. Oh, and it is due exactly one day after the suitcase.

What. The. Actual….. Have you people lost your minds???!!!

Since neither of you are parents yet, let me tell you how this works. (Actually, I can only tell you how it works in my household; it probably doesn’t happen like this for parents who have their shit together). Once my kids come home with these assignments, it inevitably becomes my assignment. You know that, right? Firstly, it is my job to go out and buy all of the necessary materials (just so you know, if I can’t buy it at Coles or Woolies it is not being purchased). Then, after school I get to nag my boys about 60 million times to stop kicking the ball (at the fence, at the dogs, at each other’s heads), and come inside and start their homework. Now, because they both have “construction” assignments to do, they both need my help at the same time. They also inevitably both need the scissors / glue / cardboard at the same time. I on the other hand, just need chocolate. And alcohol. To block out their fighting, and then my screaming at them to stop fighting. Fun times.

After exactly 5 minutes, they both crack it and give up. At this point, guess who is the lucky duck who gets to take over? Just to be clear:
I fucking hate craft. Or construction of any kind. Just in case you think I’m exaggerating, let me tell you a story…..

In Year 9 I took the “compulsory elective” (nice oxymoron right there) of Woodwork for one semester. For the entire semester, I sat and planed and sanded and finally varnished my – wait for it – wooden chopping board. Yep, while other kids built spice racks and step ladders, I sanded a piece of wood until it was about the size of an Ipad mini (and therefore useless as a chopping board) but nevertheless, I passed!!!

So now you have some idea of my level of proficiency. I am a teacher too. I am “down” with Vygotsky. But let me tell you: constructing a show ride, or suitcase, or lighthouse / fridge with working circuits and lights is so far outside my “Zone of Proximal Development” it is not even funny.

So, to conclude my rant I would simply like to apologise in advance for the absolute crap my children pass up. Please know I did my best. And please, for the love of God, just tick the box of whatever Key Competency / Achievement Standard on the Design and Technology Strand of the Australian Curriculum that needs to be ticked so they can pass, and let’s all move on, shall we?

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