College Papers Uncovered

In the process of cleaning and organizing my office today I came across several term papers I’d written in college, circa approximately 1982 and 1983, at the University of Northern Iowa. These two in particular piqued my interest:

One was written for my Development of Young Children class and was entitled “Education at Home.”  I began homeschooling in 1993, at least ten years after I wrote this paper in which I promoted homeschooling as a viable educational choice, based mostly upon my extensive research in the college library, since I didn’t know any homeschoolers at the time. I got an A-.

The other paper was a part of a presentation I did on how much a wife is worth, using this paper as a handout. It includes the “cover page” which I drew on and included some favorite sayings about motherhood, a questionnaire inside about housewives, and a detailed list of household duties and how much they would be worth if the wife was paid to do them. Sample true and false questions from the questionnaire;

1. 48% of all mothers with children under six stay at home.

2. The Dictionary of Occupational Titles rates “homemaker” high with a rating of 27.

3. Women in the 1980’s spend much less time at housewok than did women in the 1920’s.

4.A fill-in-the-blank question: Ann Oakley, a radical theorist, believes three things must be abolished to liberate housewives. These three things are:

Answers : 1. True (remember this was approximately 1983) , 2. False (I believe they rated housewife somewhere under fish monger and slightly above ditch digger), 3. False, and 4.  the three things are  the housewife role,  the family, and gender roles.

Why I felt the need to “decorate” my paper is beyond me, but it worked for me so many times, I continued doing it.  This presentation netted me another “A” grade as did a paper for a Psychology of Parenting class that included a poem on the cover page that I wrote about Jean Piaget, who studied human development and mother-infant relationships.  If a student asked my advice about writing a term paper today, I would not even consider advising them to draw pictures or elaborate with poetry, anymore than I would tell someone looking for work to use pastel paper and a funky font for their resume or gel ink pens (scented) for their job applications. Or suggest a writer sending out proposals and queries include something wild and wacky to make themselves stand out from the slush pile. It just isn’t professional.

But it once worked for me, and I find that fascinating.

That, and the fact that I hadn’t even remembered writing about homeschooling or being a proponent of educational choice that many years before I actually joined the ranks of homeschoolers.

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