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Article: Don’t Mess with the White Stripes: A Homework Saga

andrea richards

Don’t Mess with the White Stripes: A Homework Saga

Lesson learned this week: Don’t mess with the White Stripes. whitestripes My eldest daughter is now in kindergarten and loving it—and why shouldn’t she? They make silly faces, learn to hula, and get to host tea parties on “Fantastic Fridays.” I’m loving it too because her teachers are great, the kids are kind, and the other parents are super involved. And it’s free! Since I’m swelling with pride about how great her school is (and I know we are the lucky ones, there are savage inequalities in the American public-education system) it’s a bit ironic that our first big school snafu involved Old Glory. As a homework assignment — yes, even kindergarteners have homework nowadays — she had to color a picture of the U.S. flag. As she is for any homework assignment, she was super excited about this task. bear_flag Of course, her little sister wanted homework too. So I sat the 3-year-old next to her big sister with a drawing pad and went back to doing my own thing in another room, the two of them happily working side-by-side on their advanced academics. Soon some shouting began, then crying, then the both of them running at me like cats with their tails on fire. “I need the thing that takes the marks away!” my kindergartener said through sobs. I couldn't figure out what she meant until I saw the evidence: her sister, wanting to help, had started coloring one of the flag’s stripes purple, which is her favorite color—a fact our country’s forefathers had not considered. I tried all the erasers in the house, but those damn things seem to work only on #2 pencils, not cute, colorful Eeboo ones. It was late and I had to get them both to bed, so I promised the kindergartener I’d get the mistake fixed by morning. And indeed, my attempts to remedy the purple stripe took me until the morning hours: I scoured the house for a bottle of Wite-Out (do they still make that anyway? Had I found a bottle it would have surely been dried out by now). I tried coloring over the purple with a white crayon. The result? Lavender. I dug through the craft supplies, but we had neither white paint nor white washi tape. Ultimately, I worked with a large pink eraser and a white colored pencil to undo the damage as best I could, but our flag was still effed up. So the next morning I explained about how sometimes mistakes happen and we try to fix them as best we can. “But I didn’t make the mistake,” my budding young perfectionist pointed out. So I switched tactics: “Sometimes mistakes or accidents make things more interesting. They invent something new or make something better than it was before.” She took this bit of motherly wisdom in. “Yes,” she agreed, taking a look at the paper I’d spent the entire evening working to clear. “But here it just looks messy.” Have you been schooled by your kid lately? Tell us what you’ve learned.

For more “school” adventures, check these posts out.


Schooled by Lennon


Schooled by Springsteen


Schooled by Bowie

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