Yesterday, my daughter came home with a note attached to her agenda that read something along the lines of “Dear Parent, Studies show that children who read at least 10-15 minutes a day perform better in all subject areas. We have noticed that your child is not filling out their reading log. Please ensure that they are updating it daily. Thank you.” To which I say “Nuh-uh, sorry, no can do.”

You see, there were two things there that really irritate me. First, the agenda and second the reading log.

Now I’m about to drop a bomb here. Are you sitting down? I don’t check my child’s agenda daily and sign off on it. Shocker, I know. After Grade One I pretty much stopped that baloney and here’s why: it’s not my homework.

My kids were the ones sitting in class all day, they were the ones who wrote their homework down in their agenda and they’ll be the ones accountable for getting it done. All I can offer by signing their agenda is more micro managing and that doesn’t do anybody any good. I ask my kids verbally almost daily if they have homework. Sometimes they say no, so they can get to the park and play faster, sometimes they say yes and they say they’ll do it later or in the morning and I’m OK with that. They are learning how to manage their time and hopefully they will learn that there are consequences when you don’t study.

I do check for upcoming tests and projects and we always help them study for big tests. I also encourage them at every turn to put in their best work but I can’t do it for them.  And I won’t. The agenda is an effective time management tool for them, not me. And nothing, absolutely nothing, irritates me more than when I get chastised for not signing the agenda.

Then there is my second pet peeve. The reading log. I hate the damn reading log.

If a reading log is not filled out, does it mean the teacher can’t identify a strong reader? They either are or they aren’t in my opinion. Is a reading log being used to help determine a grade? Good grief, I certainly hope not.  In my opinion, reading logs are nothing more than a make work project. It involves kids reluctantly writing down what they have read, parents chasing their kids down to fill them out, teachers having to confirm that their strong readers are in fact reading and that their weak readers are not. I wonder how many kids just fudge the numbers to get it done and how many parents just sign off blindly just to get it out of their sight? Does this really create a love of reading or a resentment of it?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-reading, just anti-reading log. Reading time is designated in my house as the half hour before bed. My nine year old is a voracious reader and I often have to argue with her to put the book down for lights out. My seven year old, is not a strong reader at all. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on her. It means we’re still searching for the content that will spark her interest. We may have just found it in non-fiction books. Judy Moody and the like bore her but throw a book about the Titanic in front of her and she’s enrapt. I’m happy we may have finally found something. The last thing I’m going to do now is say, go fill out what book, how many pages you read, if it was fiction or non-fiction and how long you read it for in that log over there. GAH!!!!  Talk about killing a love of reading before it even got off the ground.

So, there you have it. I’m the rebel without a cause. The momma with a chip on her shoulder. I am “that mom.” But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. I also know that not everyone is going to agree with me on this. How do you feel about agendas and reading logs? Weigh in. I suspect there are a lot of great opinions on this topic.