Sometimes, homework helps children learn the wrong things.
According to Glamour, children’s book editor Lynne Polvino found that to be true when she was helping her six-year-old daughter with her homework. Given a fill-in-the-blank worksheet that told the fictional story of a girl named Lisa, Glamour says the exercise told a tale of a young girl who was unhappy that her mother went back to work, while her “inept” father had to make her breakfast and forced her to wash dishes after.
Shocked at the messages the worksheet was sending to students, Glamour says Polvino “emailed her daughter’s teacher, and says the teacher replied that she agreed that the worksheet was outdated and would more carefully review future assignments.”
But her efforts didn’t end there: she decided to rewrite the worksheet, says Glamour, working in details that made the worksheet less misogynistic and more representative of working parents today. Not only is Lisa happier in Polvino’s story, her family also shares responsibilities, according to Glamour:
“Lisa’s mother receives parental leave because her workplace ‘valued her important contributions,’ and her father is now home on his leave and ‘contributing equally’ to the running of the household. Lisa’s dad makes breakfast easily, because testicles don’t get in the way of scrambling eggs. In what might be her best line, Lisa washes her dishes ‘because all functional humans should learn to clean up after themselves and help others.'”
Lisa even enjoys school in Polvino’s tale, Glamour reports, because she has “play-based learning” and “plays with Legos at a federally funded after school program.”
Let’s hope more worksheets like Polvino’s populate classrooms very soon.
See a side-by-side comparison of the worksheets here.