Once upon a time, there was a mother, young and relatively poor compared to her affluent, older mommy neighbours. She voted for the green party, recycled, and generally tried to be a good example to her children. She dreamed of one day home schooling her two children, as school for her represented the worst sort of institution in society. She likened it to the Lord of the Flies, but worse because it included adults. Her children were not going to be another brick in the wall, no sirree. As time went on she realised that being poor, well, sucked, and that if she and her husband were ever to leave the financial kingdom of her parents a career might be in order. And so , when her daughters were five and three her husband and she packed up everything and moved towards the village of higher education. In order for the mother to be able to go to school herself and one day have hopes of supporting the family, the two daughters were forced to go to school as well. Not only were they obliged to go to school, they had to do so in another language. All sorts of trials and tribulations befell the poor sisters. Getting up early in the morning, spending 6 hours of your day not doing what you want to do, learning the particular pecking order of the school yard. But the worst trial the oldest had to suffer was homework. After spending the whole day cooped up in a large, brick building, she had to go home and spend an hour with her tired, grumpy, overworked mother going over syllables and drilling in words for dictée. Whereas the mother used to worry about her children being able to learn at their own pace, she was now anxious about not having her daughter’s homework done on time and incurring the wrath of the first grade teacher. Every week day the mother would come home exhausted and sit her unwilling daughter down. Everyday the mother would lose her patience and make her daughter cry. This went on for all of the first grade until the mother decided that this could not go on. At this rate her daughter would hate her and, well, she was beginning to hate the tyrant she had become as well. So she decided to send her children to an alternative school. Although the children were happier there, and had more freedom during the day, the oldest still had to do homework. However the mother tried, everytime she helped her child she would reduce her to tears. In her heart she knew it was her fault. She was tired after a long day of work and there was only a certain amount of time alotted to do homework. If her child was not able to grasp a concept in that alotted time, the impatience would set in, frustration would take over like a storm cloud and they would be fighting. The mother still though whimsically about homeschooling and felt ashamed of herself. She decided to blame it on her lack of time although in her heart she knew it was a deficiency within herself, that she was a slave to her schedule and shook like rainman about to board a plane if there was any deviation. And so the status quo was maintained, with the mother unwittingly chipping away at her daughter’s self esteem, and the daughter trying her best to do what was expected of her, exactly like a brick in the wall.
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