I haven't blogged in quite a while. I haven't posted much on Facebook.
A friend asked me yesterday if I was okay.
Thank you, JuJu for checking in. :)
Yes, I'm okay. I feel very much like this Prickly Poppy. On the surface, this flower is doing just fine. Getting her work done. Taking care of the business of each day. Just below the surface, there are spines. Spines that are painful, but not life altering.
My spines of late, seem to be centered around raising my kids.
Not spines like those of my Agave plant. Extremely painful and long lasting.
As another friend told me when I was expressing concern about my kids and decisions Lee and I have made, she said, "At least they aren't robbing banks."
She has three kids. One grown and doing great, the other two in college.
I remind myself of that when I want to strangle myself or my kids.
I'm just going through a place where I'm questioning decisions Lee and I have made with our kids.
Why didn't we set up rules regarding homework?
I guess because the kids have always been self policing. They've done it without being asked.
The challenge is, now homework is not required in many classes. It is assigned, but no one holds them to it. The problem with that----it doesn't get done and so vital learning is missed.
Scores on quizzes and tests show that.
Along that same vein. Can you really be getting the most out of homework if you are receiving texts, phone calls and listening to music? Their grades reflected, that you can indeed, do all those things AND get the work done.
Why didn't we help our kids learn to study for quizzes and tests?
I think it's because they've always scored well without us. We assumed they knew the information. Here's the rub. Teachers all throughout elementary, middle and some high school have handed out study guides. The test has been just a rewrite of the information on the study guide. What that has taught the kids, is that there's no reason to take notes or pay any attention in class, because the study guide will bring them up to speed.
I am the last person on earth to blame teachers. Don't read that into this. Goodness knows they are doing a job that I couldn't.
What we are finding, is that the upper, more difficult classes are doing three things.
1. Not requiring homework.
2. Not giving out a study guide.
3. Expecting students to take notes and be tested over those notes.
We, as parents, fell down in this area. We assumed all those years of fabulous grades, that they were being taught more than just studying of the study guide. I never, in all my years of school, got a study guide. I think we assumed that note taking was being required and tests were being taken around those notes AND the study guide.
Here's the funnest new thing that's been implemented in Texas.
If you make a failing grade on anything, you get to have a do-over for a maximum grade of 70.
That's right, you can bomb a test, take it over and get a passing grade if you can..
Also, the due date on anything isn't really a due date. It's three days later. I kid you not.
If I were a teacher, I'd run screaming from the profession. As if they don't have enough to do, they get to regrade all the do-overs.
How many of us get fluid due dates and do-overs in college and in real life?
So what does this all mean?
It means that because Lee and I assumed certain things about our kids and our schools, that Tom may not get into his first choice for college. It means we didn't push hard enough. We took our kids and our schools word for it, that they were doing fine.
In looking back over this post, it really looks as though I'm blaming the schools.
I am not.
I am blaming myself for not paying close enough attention to reality of the situation.
The grades rolled in and I had faith they were a true compass of how things really are.
I blame myself for wanting to be the 'nice' parent and believing that music and texting and phone calls were a part of homework for kids today.
I blame myself for letting the "but that's not due until next Monday" be a legitimate reason not to take a look at it now.
I blame myself for letting study for a test only take place on the night before.
I blame myself for not sticking hard to a bedtime or a homework starting time.
Will Tom have a clue how to navigate what is required of him in college? I keep wishing there had been a Note Taking course and a How to Study Your Notes course in 6th grade.
There isn't space or time for those classes.
Unfortunately, it's too late for us to have a real impact on Tom. He leaves for college next Fall.
I don't think he'd listen even if we offered a study class of our own here at home.
It's not too late for Pearl and James.
Lee and I consider ourselves 'good parents'. We keep up with how the kids are doing. We know who their friends are. We held our heads high because we could see by their grade cards that they are doing fine.