Friday, January 7, 2011

I Got Spanish Homework

Eh? What's that you say? You were not aware that I am enrolled in a Spanish class? One that assigned homework?

I'm not.

About 3 weeks ago, Genea was assigned this project in school. To do her family tree. Okay.

I know some kids who have been adopted will have confusion over this sort of thing. Where does the birth mother go? What about other parents? Multiple sibling sets of completely different parents? But for Genea, her rigid brain goes in a line without variables and so who to include on the tree was not an issue for her. Not much of the project was an issue for her because clearly the homework was designed for parents. Certainly not a seven year old!

She was to draw her family tree.
Problem #1: Genea does not really get who is who and who is related to who by whatever means. I have to tell her who goes with who. Thankfully we have very little divorce, and The Husband is an only child.

She has to write down the name of each person.
 Problem #2: She does not know people by their full name. Auntie Christine is...... Auntie Christine. First name Auntie, last name Christine. Grampa's name is..... Grampa. I have to tell her and spell for her everyone's full name.

She has to write in then, the person's relationship to her, in Spanish. Fortunately that is provided for her on a list. Unfortunately she is 7. So she writes big and illegibly.

Problem #3: She makes frequent mistakes that need to be erased. Also? She cannot draw several straight lines mapping out the space she would need to lay out the information. I drew an example for her to follow. It did not go well.

Problem #4: For this project to look right, it needs to be on a wide strip of white paper. We have no such thing in the house. The Husband has to go out and get appropriate paper.

Problem #5: In order to get full points, there needs to be a picture of each person by their name. No way is my seven year old going to dig through my photos and cut out people's heads! The other option is for the child to draw each person. I don't know about the artistic abilities of your seven year old, but mine can draw a circle and put dots on for eyeballs. That ends her ability. I guess I don't care if Genea's Spanish teacher thinks we all look suspiciously alike but...... looking incestuously alike I have to take issue with.

The project is due today, Friday. I do everything I need to do to make sure Genea can complete this homework, without actually doing it for her.

But then........

Wait for it.........

Last night, the Thursday night just prior to the Friday due date, Genea decides rather abruptly to end her streak of excellence and have a good ol' fashion Thrown Down Wango Tango. The variety that we see only twice a year. Lovely. It takes a good chunk of the afternoon and early evening. Even though all she had to do was finish piecing together the tree, no way was she going to complete it.

So, the result was a half done, sloppy, mess with eraser marks everywhere and very little Spanish. We will not shield her from the consequences. Whether the teacher refuses to accept it, or gives her a bad grade I do not know. I emailed her this morning to let her know that we, her parents, knew what she was going to try to turn in and to please let me know how she wanted to handle it so we could reinforce the effect at home. To make sure Genea understood.

Mi familia es muy loco. Merde.

(If that is incorrect in any way, please know that I am not a language student at this time).
(Yes, I know I combined 2 languages. I used what I know. Plus, I don't care. I am not being graded this time).


  1. Wow that is one heck of an assignment. I give you an "A" for effort and an "A" for sending it in as is. Plenty of parents would send in a stunt poster just so the kid would get a really good grade.

    Let us know how it goes.

  2. That is a major assignment! What is a 7 yr old suppose to learn? So many elements. I love your idea of e-mailing the teacher ahead. Nice plan.


  3. OK, I gotta chime in here. I'm a German teacher, so my beginning classes do this every year. However, I give them so many options. Why a family tree? It's because I want to do a communicative exercise with the students (asking each other in the target language, "Do you have a brother? What is his name? How old is he? What color eyes does he have?" etc), and for beginners, talking in first-person is easiest. It doesn't matter who is actually family, or not. I understand that not everyone has a pretty picture-perfect family, or maybe they are just bored with their families, or there is some sort of trauma, etc.

    So, I say it can be your family, an imaginary family, or even a TV Family (I've seen plenty of "Simpsons," "My Wife and Kids," even "SpongeBob"). Feel free to be creative! Put it on paper! Put it on a poster! Put it on a scrap of cardboard! Just bring it in. Draw some primitive shapes to represent Uncle Bob! Cut out catalog pictures! Print off the internet! Don't cut up Mom's pretty photo album!

    And it always turns out fine.

    That being said, it sounds like Genea's teacher is an idiot.

  4. Julie said it best. so I will second it. "That being said, it sounds like Genea's teacher is an idiot." :)

  5. I cannot believe the workload involved for the age level. I am unclear as to whether that puts me on your side or Genea's in this case! Any mention of "to get full marks" should not be applied to the early elementary years, in my opinion. It is too much stress for the parents, and I do not believe the kids are fully able to respond to that particular type of goal at this age. Not to mention how much work that was for kids to (supposedly) do independently and at home on their own time. Crazy. I am not surprised Genea lost it in the end -- especially when you factor in all the more difficult elements of that type of assignment that exist for adopted kids. Proud of you for letting her work go to school as-is. If more parents would do that, then these crazy types of assignments might get doled out less frequently for this age group!

  6. Well that made me tired just reading it! But it was also very entertaining, as always, I love your writing!

  7. It's hard when it is a Family Tree type of project. I think too, that when birthfamily is involved, and a child has to actually think about and create a family tree type of project it is hard sometimes. Our 9 yr old last year in 2nd grade, had some family tree types of projects. We spent time talking with the reading teacher involved, to have her show our daughter that there can be different types of families. Our daughter chose to include her birthfamily at first because the teacher sort of worded the way our daughter took it literally. I had no warning this was coming so I had to talk about the types of families and how she has two families, etc. I think she understands this, a year later, but I know we will have more coming in 4th grade on this.

    You have my sympathies. Not a fan of the family tree projects.

    Glad your daughter gave it an effort and hope the teacher looks at it that way too. Might have been your daughter just got overwhelmed at the end.

    Like your use of words, and two languages! LOL.


  8. This is a crazy assignment for a seven year old!!! And adding Spanish into the mix? Wow. Is this a first year teacher? I wonder if she's ever tried this project before.

  9. Well, no kidding she had a Wango Tango. I would probably go into my daughter's room and have a Wango Tango myself for the teacher if she handed out that assignment.

  10. That sounds like a whopper of an assignment for a 7-year-old! Holy Smokes!

    And I if my kids had to do a family tree I know they would wango tango too because of all the crazy feelings that come from it.

    Sending happy thoughts your way.

  11. I fully believe, as the mother of a SENIOR, for God's sake, that teachers give this kind of crap homework assignment as punishment for the PARENTS. Because no way can 7 yr old children make posters, family trees, dioramas, etc without parental assistance.

  12. Our school sends home "family" projects...You know, we're all supposed to happily sit down and cut & paste &....

    Well that's just wonderful for anyone who has artistic ability. Genea's people drawings are probably better than mine. Often, my stick people don't even look like stick people!

    One of my boys has artistic ability out the ying-yang, the other, none. Guess which child was given the assignment? Guess which child had RAD? Guess which child will probably have his own version of the Wango Tango five minutes into the project? Oh, I am soooo looking forward to it!

  13. Genea is in first grade or at most, second?! This is excessive for that grade level and La maestra es estupido. Or as I learned from our concrete guys, "Pinche Cabrone" or however it is spelled. That translates to extra friendly relations with the female head of the household. If you don't get it...ask me in Orlando, after a few Bud Lights.

  14. Jeez! My 16 year old would have trouble doing that!


  15. ugh - sissy's school projects would give me full blown panic attacks. it would take so much effort to explain the assignment to her and then so much effort to get through all the screaming and radsing and then SHE would have panic attacks and then emails to the teacher and ... ugh.

    now the school lets her do them AT SCHOOL. Glory be to God!

  16. That sounds totally out of line. My older ones turned out all right, and when they got assignments like that I let them watch how I did it. (That's a learning experience, right?)

  17. Here is the end result........

    The teacher emailed me back and said she would send the project back home for Genea to complete to "our" satisfaction. When Genea came home she told me the project was fine and the teacher kept it! I was confused, later I read my email and there was another one from the teacher saying, OOPS I forgot to send the project back home with Genea! She said she would have Genea stay in from lunch and recess and finish it on Monday with her.
    Heh heh heh, lunch and recess are Genea's favorite time of day so I hit her up at home and suggested to her that spending lunch with her teacher would suck and if I were her I would just start over and do it this weekend. So she did. It took her all weekend to get it done what with all the screwing around she had to do, but it got done. Sunday night at 7pm I was helping her decide where to glue the heads of our relatives on the family tree, but it got done.
    Still, I am referring to it as "MY family tree project".
    Really, I understand the idea of the project but it was about 75% parent work. Rest assured there were no sweet moments where we happily cut and pasted. It was a battle. Julie, your comment helped though because I realized the teacher probably did not expect what I was envisioning and a little wonky would probably be okay. Still, it was an idiotic project!

  18. killer hilarious. i wet myself. are you happy now?


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