Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Involvement in school projects & homework
Being an expat family with third culture kids in a foreign school system half across the globe from what I used to call home brings its own challenges. I know a lot of you fellow expat parents have experience with the differences in local schools versus international private schools versus what we remember about our own school career.
I am German and to be very clear and frank up front, I do not recall a single moment other than parents -teacher -conference where my parents have been at school. Other than checking my homework up until 5th grade I have no recollection of them even getting involved in my homework. And I most certainly do not recall a single occasion of them participating in my school projects. Not that there were than many anyways.
Despite, I graduated!!! So, no surprise to my personal reluctance towards this topic.
But here we are Kindergarden age, just moved from international into a local yet still private (pre) school. In my opinion this is already a lot of fuzz about a tiny little person’s school education. Don’t get me started on school fees and involuntary school donations and other payment plans…
So here we go 2 kids in preschool/kindergarten age and my calendar fills up with school related activities of child of the week, family tree presentations, welcome to school, joint activities etc etc etc.
Just imagine if you have 20 kids in class and each kid gets a presentation prepared by the parents including activities and shared meals and what not, that are 20 weeks of a school year where parents prepare the content for the class. And I though I pay the school to take care of that!
So let me get this straight I pay a ton of money for what is perceived best possible education , I pay for 4 hrs of peace across the house and then I still end up teaching the class. Yeah not sold on that!
And then this happened this morning. I see parents pass me at the drop of line with massive presentations for the kids homework of making a family tree. Which I forgot. Definitely a guilt ridden parentt here for forgetting to do MY HOMEWORK.
Right, cause I pay school for my children so I get to do homework. You don’t see the connection there, well I am lost too.
Not even to mention crazy sock and hairdays, theme weeks, book weeks and whatever else I cater towards throughout the school year. Project related learning they call it. Not sure for whom! And how to parents that do not work from home deal with all that extra work?!
Back to the family tree assignment. I see all these state of art ready for professional business presentations walking past me. Can’t help but to envision the parents sweating over the task on a Sunday night while kids are asleep. When did school become so competitive where parents have to proof their case for their children?! But then which parent would send their 5 year old with a crappy presentation. Or should we all??
How far does parental involvement in kid’s homework and projects should go? What is the fear that drives a parent of letting the kid present its own design? I doubt it will destroy future ivy league education if we give our kids some leadway. Worst cases scenario would be that no one but the kid itself will be able to identify the person on the picture.
But what is is a simingly simple task of creating a family tree, has turned into Pandoras box in our household!
We are an expat family with third culture kids. The explanation of “where are you from” has turned into an exercise of blank stares and confusion of the array of national flags posted on the assignment sheet. Mama German, Papa Belgian, born in Qatar living in Panama and then all this different names for the grandparents….and then they have to remember to present in school.
If you are an expat you might know that our friends become our chosen family. we spent birthdays, holidays and vacations with them we share the good, bad and ugly while our relatives come once a year. To me its perfectly naturaly that our best friend and her kids belong into that family tree.
My kid would call my best friend Mum or daddy cause after all that’s what their respectivekids call her all the time.
And then there is another issue I have with homeworks. What is it that we teach our kids by doing homework anyways? Do we condition our kids for future employment? And if so what tools would you teach to your kid? -Follow a task swiftly -Get your shit done and suffer consequences if not -Wait to last minute like on a Monday morning just before school bus arrives or Sunday evening buzzer
I am sure this is a sensitive and very opinionated topic so feel free to share your comments below!