Thursday, September 08, 2011

back to school time

the kids started the new school year yesterday! they both had good days, which was nice to hear. neither one of them was whiny when they got up either, and i think even if no one would ever admit it, they were glad to go back.  this is the boychik's last year, meaning in a month or so we can look forward to getting fleeced by josten's.  i'm not sure why it because de riguer to buy a graduation gown; you wear them once for a few hours and then feel guilty throwing them away a few years later.  what happened to renting? did too many high school seniors get crabs? i'm going to try buying one on ebay. does that make me a cheap stepmother? probably.

the girlchild is in the 7th grade now, and i admit being more than nervous about the upcoming year.  last year her grades were terrible, her attitude was even worse, and we spent many miserable hours and months trying to figure out what was going on and what we could do about it.  this year she's enrolled in a program that is supposed to help her study skills and organization, as well as provide a little extra math and reading help.  when it comes to the girl and her grades, i admit that D and i approach it from very different points of view.  i think that's part of the reason i'm not looking forward to this year.  she's a bright kid, but if things are hard, she just gives up. she is also under the assumption that she's already "good" at math, and doesn't need to try anymore, and to be honest, she's not that good at math.  she doesn't consistently fail it, but she never aces it either.  she has a hard time finishing what she starts, keeping track of assignments, and on more than one occasion she's just flat-out lied to us about what she had to do/when she had to do it/what was going on.  i'm definitely more of the disciplinarian, which is a shitty role, but considering one kid does well and never needs much in the way of supervision when it comes to school, i guess it evens out.  my plan this year is to make things kind of hard to start with.  instead of taking away stuff like tv and computer time and going outside when things go bad, from the very start she's going to have to prove that she can do her schoolwork first.  meaning, no computer time until after 7:30, and if she wants half an hour of facebook and shit, she's got to give me half an hour of reading.  if she wants to be allowed to watch any tv (for us, netflix) or a movie, she's going to have to have all her homework done as well as her chores.  she has to tell us what is due and when every day, via her assignment log.  i know it sounds harsh, and it is, but last year she brought home a report card with three D's and 2 F's and didn't see anything wrong with it.  the way i see it, if things start out kind of gulag-y, then they can only get better, right? i don't necessarily want to punish her for last years grades, but i don't want her thinking she can skate until she gets caught again, either. 

just thinking about all of this makes my blood pressure go up.  i'm going to try to be optimistic, i swear, but if this year is like last year, i don't know what i'm going to do.  i'm not a very good tutor for her while sober, and this sort of thing makes me want a big old glass of boxed wine, and guess what? i'm worse at explaining fractions then.

1 comment:

wixlet said...

I am the parental hardass, too, and I think you're doing exactly the right thing. The program sounds promising from what you describe. Some kids, even really bright kids, just don't organize their minds in a way that works with the type of school system that most American kids are in. She's really lucky to have you even if you end up butting heads. I bet with that little bit of extra support at school and you starting out by laying down the law, she'll have a much better year.

Even though CX is only in second grade, we have to be kind of shitty with him about his focus and attention in school (and his school doesn't even HAVE ABCDF grades!), and we have a bunch of rules about what he needs to do before he can just fart around and do whatever. It sucks, but once we got him on a reading-to-us schedule over the summer, his reading (and his ability to focus on it) improved dramatically. I never thought I'd be the parent that taped the weeknight schedule to the fridge door, but here I am.