Friday, April 11, 2008

School is Hard Work

Shh! Fred and Bessie are still sleeping! Their adventures yesterday wore them plumb out! The battles with giant rodents seemed to take a lot out of them, but the work they had to do was even MORE taxing!

Y'all know, right, that the cows can't read? My kids are so ashamed that I'm willing to be seen in public with illiterate cows. It seems the bovines are also ashamed of their lack of mad reading and writing skillz. Poor babies. See Fred here, trying his hardest to write? I don't think they even speak English, so I wouldn't know how to teach them to write, but it looks like math might be its own universal language, since Fred picked up the pencil and just went to town on this workbook. Doesn't it look like a struggle just to write? And his handwriting is very poor - I couldn't make out a single equation.

I finally convinced Fred to put the pencil down - he was quite reluctant to do so - and the two wandered across the table (I was having lunch with my boy, Little Guy) to a Reading Comprehension practice test which someone had left. Yes, the children have big, bad standardized tests next week. Everyone has been frantically preparing for the tests, polishing skills and building their knowledge base. I walk past classrooms and hear quadratic equations being spouted by children and teachers alike, as well as sentence diagramming and state capitals being quoted. It's a lovely place to be this time of year. *sigh*

Oh! The practice test! Bessie seems to be sniffing it, trying to figure out exactly what it is. Little Guy tried telling her that it was for reading, that it was a test, but she and Fred were clueless. Sometimes I really wish I spoke Moo.

We thought that maybe reading them the rules would help, seeing as they're so eager to learn and all. When I got the bovines home, I attempted to implement some of these guidelines with them, but they kept eating the paper for their homework. I guess that when Little Guy tells his teacher that the cows ate his homework, he's not lying, huh?

Look at them, working so hard to read the poster! Hey, maybe I've been wrong all along about these two trying so hard to read. Maybe they look at the paper and see food? They sure were trying to leap from their perch to get to the poster, so maybe that's why? They will NEVER learn to read and write this way! Don't they understand how important these skills are? I'm very tired of having to read Captain Underpants to them every night, and especially of having to do that page flippy thing all the time. It's about time they learn to do it themselves. Especially with Captain Underpants. He's funny and all, but once you've read it about 30 times, it gets old. Ya know?

At last I was able to settle them down with a good book. Have I mentioned that they love being read to? Sure, they love humorous books, but you should have seen their eyes light up when I plopped them in front the Jaguar book! For delicate farm animals, they sure love wild predators! That's a pretty intimidating picture of a jaguar, if you ask me. But I read it, cover to cover, and they didn't move once. They just mooed a little when I was done, like they were kinda sad it was over. I was tempted to find another book, but it was time for me to head to Mrs. Clark's class and say goodbye to Little Guy.

Throwing away our lunch trash (wadding up the trash and shooting hoops from across the room is always fun when the teacher's not looking, isn't it?), our backs were turned to the cows. Maybe they thought I was ready to leave? Whatever they thought, when we turned around they were gone! Look where we found them! In Little Guy's desk! Which isn't nearly as messy as I thought it would be. But look what's on top of his desk, that sneaky thing! My Far Side comic book! I wonder if his teacher knows he's reading that when he should be doing schoolwork? And aren't Fred and Bessie cute, huddled together in there, trying to look invisible? If they just .. don't .. move ...

I grabbed them and put them in my purse. Lots of ugly mooing and jumping around at this point. They seemed relieved when I opened my purse and they found they were still at school.

Remember the debacle with the ferret yesterday, their escape from my purse? I was a bad bovine mommy, leaving it open for them to look around while I worked. One of the children found them at the computers, which aren't to be used without permission from the teacher. Fortunately for me, these two didn't know the password for access. Looks like they tried really hard till they were discovered. I wonder, though, what they would have done had they gained access to the school's computer files. Hmmm ...

To keep them out of mischief, I took them with me to the media room to make copies. I considered making copies of them, since they were jumping up and down on the platen glass, mooing and begging, but I thought that maybe their little hooves would scratch the glass. That, and the machine keeps track of how many copies each person makes. How on earth would I explain copies of my bovines little rear ends and faces to the principal? How embarrassing.

We left the media room to head back to the classroom, passing the office secretary on the way. The secretary was always my favorite person when I was in school. She always knew everybody and everything that was going on in school, as well as all the dirt on the teachers and parents It was definitely a plus to be on her good side. This school's secretary is no different, also being one of my favorite people in the school. Ms. Sandy knows EVERYTHING. And now she knows my cows! Poor Fred and Bessie, though - they think she's a fan. They don't meet too many grown ups, understand, and they think everyone they meet reads Flea's World and knows all about them. I'm just so grateful that they didn't try giving Ms. Sandy their autograph! Last time they did that they left little ink hoof prints all over the room.

I was finally able to steer the cows away from their new friend and back to the classroom. I WAS there to work, after all. One of the students kept them busy, teaching them to write, while I was grading papers and making construction paper folders. At least, he told me he TRIED teaching them to write. Bessie was fascinated with his fingernails and wouldn't leave them alone. She kept licking his fingers, nibbling on his nails, nudging him with her muzzle. I have no idea what was up with that. Unless this poor child had butter for lunch and had gotten some under his nails. Bessie LOVES butter!

They grew tired of learning to write, I guess, because the next thing I knew, the two of them were climbing on to the teacher's desk, commandeering her teacher's manual! Bad cows! How will cows, who can't read or speak English, teach an entire class of fourth graders? And teach them reading, no less? Silly cows!

It was about that time I packed them back in my purse. But Mrs. Clark suggested I take them to the library, since they seemed to love reading and books. I'll tell you all about THAT trip tomorrow. Until then ...

Moo to You!