High school is the new college

Adam schedule 11-12

At our school district, it’s encouraged that 8th graders complete a study plan while enrolling in their freshman year in high school. This maps out their course of study, and ensures they will graduate with all the credits they need for a high school diploma.

In other words, as a 14-year-old, they are asked to pick a major.

I’m exaggerating. But they are supposed to plan their classes through their senior year. I get it…some classes require prerequisites and they want kids to think ahead so they don’t get stuck without enough time to take the required classes.

Isn’t high school for taking classes in several areas? I would guess most eight graders will probably change their mind about their interests in high school.

On the other hand, the curriculum guide if full of cool classes! Fire science, medical classes, education, marketing and communications, engineering, music, art…you name it, it’s there! And many have an option of earning college credit, so there’s a plus too.

But it also is a bit disheartening…it’s hard enough being a kid without all the pressure of academics, sports and life in general.

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Online access to grades – yay or nay?

a-grade

The ability to check my children’s grades online and the weekly emails from their teachers have made me feel like an enabler and contributed to the possibility of me being helicopter-ish.

It’s true. I like the “real-time” check on how my children are doing, and that I am “in the know” on what they are studying and if they have an upcoming test or not (because they sure don’t tell me.)

But here’s the rub. I get an email from a teacher about a vocabulary quiz on Friday. I feel like I need to ask my child “Did you know you have a quiz on Friday? Did you study? Where are the vocab words?”

In reality, my child should be responsible and pay attention in class and already know this. And he probably did. But if he didn’t, I have just saved him from a bad grade, a possible lesson in reality. Is anyone going to do that for him in college? Is his mommy going to remind him about finals when he is 20 years old? Or that he has that big presentation at work the next morning?

Let’s talk about the online grade card. It’s great. It’s better than only seeing your grade every nine weeks, like back in 1986. I can see every worksheet, quiz, test and project and the final grade. So if my child had an A in math, and then starts getting Ds and Fs on assignments, I will know right away and can talk to him to correct the problem.

On the other hand, shouldn’t my child be accountable and realize he is getting these not-so-great grades and make an effort HIMSELF? Without me telling him?

What if I see that his grades are slipping, but don’t say anything to him? Am I a horrible parent? I would assume he would know – do I just wait until he says something? Let him suffer the consequences? Tough love?

My head would say tough love, my heart would by breaking…

My One School Year Request

DSC_0260 cropped(Disclaimer:  I think teachers are one of the most important people in a child’s life. Teachers posses more patience, more energy and more excitement in one school year than I have in one hour. Teachers are helping our little ones become responsible members of society. And the last thing they need to be hearing is me complaining about something. But here goes…)

On this First Day of School Eve, I want to send a request to all teachers and room parents:

When sending home papers, please include something that tells me which room/grade/teacher/child this particular paper is meant for.

Here’s the deal…I’m usually organized. I have two calendars that sync together with my phone, meshing my work and home life into one big calendar. We’ve never been late for the bus, and I’ve never missed a parent teacher conference, a music program or school party (that I said I would go to…)

But here’s where it all falls apart: When one child’s papers, assignments, notes or classroom instructions get mixed up with the other child’s papers, assignments, notes or classroom instructions.

Example:

“For our Halloween party we will be making scary snacks! Please bring one of the following to class by Friday. For questions, contact Jane (Jordan’s mom) at XXX-XXX-XXXX .”

“We are doing a special project at school! Please bring 3 empty paper towel cardboard inserts to school by Wednesday.”

“In order for me to better get to know your child, please fill out the following questionnaire and send it back with your student on the first day of school.”

Do you see the problem here? I don’t know who Jordan is. And what if both my children have a Jordan in their class? Which class is doing the special project? Which one of my boys do you want to get to know?

And don’t say “just ask your child,” Anyone with children knows how this turns out.

“Whose paper is this?” –> “I don’t know.”

Well, did your teacher say you were having a party?” –> “I don’t know.”

“Do you have a child in your class named Jordan ?” –> “Um…maybe. Well…no, I guess not. But there’s a Jordan in the classroom next to me.”

“Who has a child in their class named Jordan?” –> “I might, but can’t be for sure.”

This probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal if I had a 5th grader and a 1st grader. Maybe I could figure it out based on the content of the paper. But you see, my boys are one grade year apart. Which makes it extra tricky.

I did buy some magnetic file holders that each child is supposed to put their papers in. But come on, do they do this every day? No. Sometimes all the papers end up on the kitchen table. And that’s where the trouble begins.

So please, teachers and room parents, help a sister out and include something on your take home papers that would tell me which paper goes with which child. A simple “5th grade party!” or a room number or the teacher’s name would work just fine. I know I can’t be the only one who has mixed up papers…am I?