I was a good student, made good grades and didn’t get in trouble. However, the one thing I consistently struggled with was handwriting. I was constantly redoing work so my teachers could read my handwriting or having points taken off my papers for sloppy writing. My writing is still slow and messy on my best day.
Now, every August, I feel like I get the Bart Simpson blackboard treatment. For the first few days of school each year, I spend hours filling out school and activity forms. Each kid has at least one form from every teacher that must be filled out BY HAND on PAPER in INK. It’s so tedious and repetitious that I procrastinate until it becomes an unavoidable fire drill.
Teachers, please don’t drop my kids’ homework grades the first week of school for being the last ones to turn in their forms – it’s my fault…again.
My wife could fill them out quickly and easily with wonderful penmanship, but I insist on doing it myself, since it’s in my job description as a stay at home dad. My wife gets a good laugh watching me fill out the forms. She tells me I look like Charlie Brown as I fill them out. Sadly for me, it’s true that in order to make the forms legible to anyone besides myself takes intense concentration. I have to go really slow and stick my tongue out while I write. My first-grade son writes the same way, so at least I know it’s genetic.
Making matters worse, our last name has 12 letters. It’s not like I’m writing ‘Plym’ 50 times on all these forms. I’m writing ‘Budzichowski’ 50 times instead. That’s triple the workload!
The thing is – I’m an engineer for a reason. Like most engineers, I hate pointless repetition, love technology and have awful handwriting, so filling out all these forms in quadruplicate EVERY YEAR feels like Bart-worthy punishment.
It would be much more efficient if I only had to type my information once and click the “Same as other kids” button and the forms would magically populate themselves. The same for the “Help Me Get to Know Your Child” forms. Year-to-year my kids don’t change that much. Can’t I just copy and paste the info from last year and call it good?
For all the bad press Common Core gets, I could go for some Common Core school forms. Integrate and standardize forms everywhere across grades and schools. It’s all pretty basic information. Name, address, home phone, work phone, cell phone, doctor’s phone, dentist phone, dog’s phone…all located in the same place on every form. I fill out so many forms, that I sometimes go on auto-pilot, only to realize that I put the cell phone on the work phone line because the last form had the work phone first, but this one has the cell phone first. We need some standards!
Even better, could I just get a “Frequent Parent Rewards Card” or QR Code that is linked to a database that I can scan and update at school or at home on my PC/phone/tablet? Maybe my kids could accumulate points towards free school supplies every time I use it? Maybe by the end of the year they could accumulate enough points for a free eraser!