It’s back to school time and you know what that means—conquering that immense stack of school forms before it conquers you.
Schools say they are going green and then send home volunteer forms, medical forms, and forms on how to fill out forms. The paperwork includes important information like the school calendar, which notes holidays such as Labor Day, a special holiday our government instituted so parents would have a day off from work to spend filling out school forms.
It also indicates special school events not to miss such as Portfolio Day. This is not an official holiday but one that guilts you into taking off from work to attend an event where your 3rd grader shares an entire year’s worth of his/her written work in ten minutes.
Then you haul the paperwork home and spend the remainder of the day debating what to do with it.
The extreme paperwork is known to cause Form Overload Epidemic, or FOE, an anxiety-related illness that occurs when your child returns home after the first day of school and dumps onto the kitchen counter a wheelbarrow full of letters marked, “To the parents of…” all due the next day.
FOE symptoms include an uncontrollable urge to set your hair on fire, throw yourself from a moving train, and home school.
FOE dates back to the invention of paper making around the 6th century B.S. (Before Staples) in Asia, when paper was first formed from pulp prepared from the fibers of mulberry, rice, seaweed and Nabisco Wheat Thins.
While the relationship between school forms and FOE is still a matter of scientific study, there is a growing understanding about the causes. For instance, some believe it’s simply a ploy by teachers to get students on their good side by letting them assign homework to their parents, just for fun.
Teacher: “So students, let’s rehearse this once more. Take this stack of forms home. When your parents ask, ‘Do you have any homework?’ what are you going to say?”
Class: “No, but you do!”
Others believe forms are specifically designed to keep the school staff amused by asking for personal information like parents name, home address, and body weight, and questions like, “Do you have any special concerns about your child?” “Do you want to be room parent?” “Do you Brazilian wax?”
Efforts to go green aren’t powerful enough to counteract FOE. The answer is to go back to making paper from rice and seaweed and convert homework into sushi.
That way, when the teacher asks your son, “Where are your school forms?” he can reply,
“My parents ate my homework.”
When Jersey Girl Lisa Tognola traded her job as freelance writer for that of full-time mother of three children, it didn’t take long before her writing was reduced to grocery lists, notes to school nurses excusing her kids from gym class, and e-mails to her husband reminding him to call his mother. Daily life as a suburban mom was fraught with challenges and unexpected dangers like adult dinner groups, town hall meetings and home shopping parties. Rather than fight her fate, this mom embraced it by unleashing her inner columnist. Her weekly column, Main Street Musings, reflects on life in the suburbs---the good, the bad, and the ugly. Visit her blog http://mainstreetmusingsblog.com/. Follow her on twitter @lisatognola