Working Mum Rewrites Her Daughter’s Outdated, Sexist Homework
Family life in 2017 is vastly different to what it was even twenty years ago, as family dynamics change and economics require both parents to return to work after having their children. But it seems that this student’s homework sheet remains in the past, back in the days of walkmans, huge stiff fringes and fluro balloon skirts.
New York mum Lynne Polvino recently took to Facebook to share the homework that her daughter had brought home. Horrified by the sexist undertones of the worksheet, Lynne decided to rewrite the homework for a more updated take.
“Here’s the homework assignment my daughter brought home yesterday, side-by-side with my rewrite,” Lynne Polvino wrote on Facebook on May 23, in a post that has been shared more than 2,000 times.
“Back to Work” asks students to choose words from lists of three to fill in a story about a little girl named Lisa.
“Lisa was not happy. Her mother was back at work,” the story begins. The narrative explains that the little girl had a terrible morning at home and day at school because her mum went back to work after staying at home with her.
“Lisa had to get to school on time. Her father had to get to work on time. And now, her mother was in a rush, too,” the story reads.
Due to the change in routine, Lisa’s dad had to make breakfast, which was “not too good.” At the end of the story, however, Lisa “feels fine” because her mum’s job allows her to leave early and greet her at home after school.
“It just pushed so many buttons for me, and with each sentence it managed to get worse!” Polvino told Today. “My shock and dismay quickly turned to outrage. I mean, what decade are we in, anyway? In this day and age, we’re going to tell kids that mothers working outside the home makes their children and families unhappy? That fathers don’t normally do things like cook and wash the dishes?”
Upset by the messages in the story, Polvino decided to rewrite it to more accurately reflect the kind of life she wants for her children. In the updated version, Lisa’s mother returns to work after “nearly a year of paid maternity leave,” and the little girl feels happy.
In a follow-up comment on her Facebook post, Polvino explained that her version of the homework sheet was meant as social commentary and not as a criticism of her daughter’s teacher or school.
“As we all know, NYC public schools face many challenges, including lack of adequate funding for up-to-date classroom materials, and I admire and appreciate all the good work the teachers and administrators do,” she wrote.
Polvino did bring it up with her daughter’s teacher and shared an update after she responded.
“She apologized for the oversight and confirmed that it must have come from an out-of-date workbook,” wrote Polvino, adding that she believes public schools need more adequate funding for newer materials and smaller class sizes so that teachers can focus on educating children rather than “weeding out offensive decades-old worksheets.”
She concluded her update with a shoutout to the working mothers who came before her.
“A huge thank you and much respect to all the working moms of past generations who had to deal with this type of crap on a regular basis!”
Source: Lynne Polvino