Book Bags and Homework

One of the most appealing aspects of a neighborhood school is being able to walk to school. It is, as I've noted before, one of the reasons we considered the switch from private to public in the first place.

Apparently, the School District of Philadelphia doesn't share this viewpoint. If they did, they'd rethink how much homework they're sending home each night.

You may be aware of this whole campaign to have school children do homework every single night irrespective of age. Last year, my kindergartener was bringing home assignments and while I kind of felt that it was all a bit much for her, I understood the idea of reinforcing learning. But reinforcing learning and homework for homework's sake are two different things.

This year, I was a bit shocked to see how much homework was being given early on. I was even more shocked when I went to pick up my daughter's book bag. It was distressingly heavy. In fact, it was so heavy that I had to carry it home for her. She couldn't manage the entire trip home carrying her book bag and she's a fairly strong girl for her size. I decided to give it a quick weigh. It was nearly 13 pounds. Considering that the recommendation for book bag weight is about 10% of body weight, that would be fine if she weighed 130 pounds. But she weighs less than half of that.

Realistically, I'm not expecting that the school is going to give on the homework side. We'll have to come up with another solution. I fear it may be driving which is the complete opposite of what attracted us in the first place. Another solution is one of those scary stewardess type bags on wheels. I know that adults use them for work in Center City. It just shouldn't be what kids are pulling around in grade school. It's just not appropriate.

How are your children managing?


Smith Playground Event

From Smith Playground:

Children age 10 and under and their caretakers are invited to a FREE day of Family and Fitness Fun this Saturday, September 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Event co-sponsors, The Junior League of Philadelphia, will lead children as they maneuver through an obstacle course and partake in various lawn games!

The Junior League will also be offering nutrition-themed craft activities and free give-a-ways to each child who attends.

Family and Fitness Fun will feature family-friendly yoga on the lawn with Certified Personal Trainer and Philadelphia Daily News Personal Fitness Columnist Kimberly Garrison. Yoga will begin at 11:00 a.m.

SMITH is dedicated to providing children 10 and under from diverse backgrounds with free and accessible one-of-a kind play experiences that meet their physical, behavioral, and developmental needs.


President to speak Tuesday at Masterman | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/09/2010

President to speak Tuesday at Masterman | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/09/2010


The First Week

It's been an odd first week of school this year. Labor Day, as usual, kicked off the week so that school started on Tuesday. This year, Rosh Hashanah also fell in the first full week of school which meant that Thursday and Friday were holidays. The kids started on Tuesday, went for a day, and now have two days off. It has made for an awkward start to the school year for sure.

I'll admit that I was a bit concerned about this year. Our school has undergone some significant changes (actually, most schools in Philadelphia have this year, I think) and I was, as many other parents, biting my nails that they were for the best. Fingers are still crossed.

The communication for the first day of school wasn't stellar. I've been racking my brain trying to recall whether it was any better at the private school. For the life of me, I just can't remember.

Despite my concerns, the first couple of days came and went and the kids were happy. We finally got classroom assignments and supplies lists... I suspect that we, like most of Philadelphia, will be shopping for crayons and markers this weekend.

Actually, the whole first week of school was quite uneventful. That's probably a good thing.

Any exciting first day of school stories on your end?