Teach your Children Well. Or… At All.

We took a drive on Saturday in my sister’s convertible up to Mullholland. We were hoping to see the view south of here. We heard you can see all the way down to South Coast now that the pollution has cleared out. We didn’t get to a good vantage point to see the view, but I could smell plants I had never smelled before up there. Eucalyptus and other herbaceous plants. There was something really magical about it. Smelling plants.

I set up an egg hunt on Sunday in our building’s courtyard for Monty and his friends downstairs. A few neighbors came out to watch. It felt like a relatively normal moment in the middle of a shit storm.

We finally got a formalized “schedule” from Monty’s teacher. She posts assignments in his school email account. Unfortunately, in the four weeks since we’ve been homeschooling, we came up with our own system that was mostly really working. We did a combination of online and live lessons. Now, with this new schedule, every lesson is online, and Monty can finish everything before noon. That’s not gonna fly. Today we did a math assignment from his teacher and compared to what he’s been doing over the last four months, the work was a joke. He had to count pictures of leaves and whatever and write the answer down. The leaves were in a straight line… It’s not even like he had to hunt for them or track his counting. And he had to circle “is less than” or “is more than” on pictures of Lego blocks. My sister (who does the bulk of the teaching because, weird fact: I’m terrible at teaching.) was having him add and subtract two and three digit numbers. He was learning about Kenya, and who our ancestors are, and where they were from, and the proper use of the “me” and “I.” Today, for his online assignment he watched a video about a fly who flies high in the sky, and a girl who cried…

I have always believed in public education. In theory. And I can’t afford to send Monty to some school where he gets to design his own curriculum. Nor can I afford to live in a neighborhood with schools that are properly funded. But his lessons are way behind what he’s capable of. I’m worried about wasted potential. I’m worried about how much supplemental learning he’s going to need in order to “compete.” I’m worried that at this rate he’s going to be bored. And I don’t want to him to skip 2nd grade public or private. In a lot of ways, he’s still very young and tender. When he sets the table, he won’t put out butter knives because “knives are violent.” The thought of him trying to keep up with a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds is terrifying. The other day he was talking about Pennywise! And that’s just from his 6-year-old friends. God only knows what a bunch of 3rd graders are going to teach him about. He’ll come home with a pack of cigarettes rolled in his sleeve, and say things like, “Hey toots! How’s about some chow?” (Honestly, I don’t know how children talk).

I’ve started making face masks for myself and my family. I am not crafty. At all. So, this is going to be…fun.

Is this real life?

About Daisy Eagan

Tony Award-winning actor (youngest female recipient), award-winning writer, mother, cross-sectional feminist, queer, lovable misanthrope.
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