Tuesday 1 March 2011

Durga and the Temple of Jerusalem

Teachers, bloody sodding teachers!  Okay, not ALL of them, alright?  But really. James doesn’t get home until 6.30pm. He has something to eat and watches The Simpsons (vital for his social and emotional development) and then has to settle down to do prep. This should, theoretically, take twenty minutes per subject. Well, French was fine but last night his English was, frankly, ridiculous. At 9.30pm he was still on my PC, red-eyed and irritable.  A mirror image of his mother, come to think of it.
‘This is crazy,’ I said. ‘Surely you’ve done enough?’

But no. He had to finish. Then we hit another problem. The only printer in the house is attached to Adrian’s Mac laptop but said laptop is with Adrian in Wales (or it may be London by now, I’m losing track). So James attached his laptop (with half the keys missing) and tried to get it working. No joy. So I tried. Wouldn’t play ball. Yeah yeah, added new printer, checked all settings...the whole caboodle.

At this point, I was feeling like a Hindu deity with about eight arms thrashing wildly around... running him a bath, doing the washing, refereeing the evening dog skirmish, ignoring the phone, trying to fix the fecking printer. And, yeah, okay, so I was sort of online and listening to stuff about Libya on the radio as well. But really.

This isn’t an isolated incident either. Take the bloody Temple of sodding Jerusalem which hung like a....oh I dunno, hanging garden of Babylon or summat...over the entire half-term. I thought we’d got off lightly, having been right through junior school without having to construct anything larger than a Scottish croft.

‘I’m despondent about it,’ said James, despondently, when we came back from Wales.
‘Rubbish,’ said I, clicking on Google images, heart sinking fast. Except. Okay, so that looked vaguely do-able. Basically lots of cubes of various sizes interconnected by walls. 
‘Let’s do it.’
'You're sure it is the Temple of Jerusalem, Mum?'
'Yeah, well, that's what it says on the tin.  You're not doubting St Google?'
'Just that Timmy Bander built the mosque instead, and got a crap mark.'
Oops.  And, really, what a dozo.  Who'd go for a mosque (necessitating blowing up balloons) when you can do a nice straight-lined temple?
So build it we did. Papier mache and gold paint and all. And it wasn’t bad, if I say so myself. Until I went on Twitter in a sense of smug achievement.
‘You wanna put on PVA glue and then sprinkle sand over it to add texture,’ said Lulu, veteran of many ancient edifices.
‘Ooh yes. And have you used modeling clay for the detailing?’ added Milla (she of the Temple of Diana and a mott and bailey castle). Detailing? What detailing? Feck off, my erstwhile friends. ;)

Actually I’d just sort of left James to it, muttering words of encouragement in an overseer-ish sort of way. Well, children have to learn, don’t they? My main contribution was to mix up a tasteful blend of Craig & Rose for the paint job. No Temple of Jerusalem is leaving this house in shabby old Dulux, no sirree.

Eventually it was done. ‘Damnit, that took forever,’ I said, heaving a sigh of relief and pouring myself another coffee.
‘Yeah,’ said James. ‘Three days, basically.  My divinity teacher said it should take about an hour.’

Dear teachers. Could I just beg you, when you’re dishing out prep, have a heart? Not just for the poor sprats that could do with at least half an hour’s downtime before bed, but for their poor demented, arm-thrashing parents.


F said...

I do think children are overloaded with homework; it's sad enough that as adults they'll spend eight to ten hours a day at work and then bring home hours more for the evening. It's not necessary to start so early, and it's not healthy.

F said...

It is a very nice temple, though.

Exmoorjane said...

Frankie: I couldn't agree more. And yeah, it's not bad, is it? :)

Viv said...

and now it tells me I can.
This was one reason why I was delighted to home ed. We spent ages doing this sort of thing because we wanted to, without deadlines or marks or pressure.
It's a wonderful temple; I do hope the sodding teacher appreciates it!

Miss Sadie said...

Well done, James! Vile printers and cardboard cut-outs notwithstanding.

And I'm glad you survived to, Jane!

Lucy Corrander : Photos said...

How fortunate to have a child that doesn't announce he needs a temple of Jerusalem half an hour before setting off for school . . . or a cake to be baked at similar short notice - and decorated to demonstrate a specific habitat for SCIENCE!

Agreed some schools set too much homework. Some set too little. I think parents ought to have much more choice in the matter. After all, they are the ones legally responsible for the education of their children.


Neil said...

Hey - I'm a teacher and I am very aware of homework issues. TBH most of the schools I have worked in only give out homework because the parents expect it. IMHO the only homework that is necessary for Primary school children is reading and sometimes a wee bit of "finding out."

Actual homework beyond the reading shouldn't really kick in until year 6 (P7 here in Scotland)- I think by that age, children need to learn how to plan their own study time - and homework helps with that. Homework at an earlier age is just parental and child torture. And as a teacher, I know no other teacher who see's it as a valuable exercise sitting marking 33 projects obviously written by parents.

By the way - the postie brought the kinnect today! The boy is busy playing with it at this very moment! Kind of glad i didn't win the coffee as i would not have slept tonight... ;)

WelshMum said...

I think that The Times has a fair point!

Homework - we are only at the stage where we have to do reading at the moment. However I am not looking forward to this as I work FT and it is difficult to fit that in! Wouldn't it be nice if you could have an idea of the topics to be covered at the start of the school year and the details of the homework so that you are mentally prepared at least!

Unknown said...

My kids have had homework since kindergarten. Ridiculous. My oldest daughter has developmental disability and STILL had to flog through homework she couldn't do. This mercifully ended in her sophomore year at high school when she went into a self-contained class with a Canadian teacher who didn't believe in giving homework to kids who, frankly, are not exactly destined for college.

I am very sorry to hear that the same madness has communicated itself to England. I grew up in the UK but never had homework until secondary school (year 5? after 30 years as an expat, I have no idea). I would support the total elimination of homework until whatever today's version of the sixth form is. Independent academic work is a skill you only need for university. Most kids will benefit more from the extra time for extra-curriculars, and those interested in pursuing academic work outside school will do what I did and stick their noses in a book when at home.

And those adjectival projects should be done by the kids, in school time, with no exceptions. I too have laminated pages at 11 pm, and I say, ENOUGH!