You may have heard….I am back at junior high. Or as they call it now, middle school.
It all started when Eva entered sixth grade in August. At Back to School Night parents learned about Pinnacle, the school’s online grade management system. Students or their parents can log in anytime to get a real-time view of their child’s grades.
Luckily the checking and re-checking only lasted about two weeks. At first I had to actively force myself not to check, then everything seemed to be going along fine, combined with my getting really busy, so I truly did forget to check.
Out of curiosity I logged into Pinnacle one day to find…
that I am the parent of a sixth grader.
Sixth graders are flighty! They crumple important notes into mushy wads left to molder in the bottom corner of backpacks. They forget the book they need at home at school and the book they need at school at home. They lose….things. They pretty much lose everything.
So now I am sitting on Eva to get things done. I am trying to be the Love and Logic “consultant” instead of a drill sergeant or helicopter, and it is very difficult.
My main feeling now is this crazy weird deja vu, like I’ve somehow gone back and re-enrolled at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High.
Very little has changed at junior high in the past 30 years. Two trains still leave the station traveling east and west, PE teachers still have buzz cuts and blow whistles, and dioramas are done at midnight the night before the assignment is due.
Eva and I are sitting down for a meeting every morning before school and every late afternoon. (I didn’t want to do it right before bed for fear of stressing her out.)
We sit with her school issued planner and go over each and every pencil-scrawled assignment. I try to be “the coach” instead of the drill sergeant but it is SO hard to not bellow, “Show me the paper! Name, date, period!” (“State your name and rank, son!”)
We have some ground rules, which my kids still think of as “Mom’s crazy quirks” and I think of as “Aren’t they teaching them ANYTHING in school anymore?”
Use scratch paper when you do math.
Do math in pencil.
Write essays in pen.
Write your name and the date in the upper right hand corner of the page.
Staple multiple pages of the same assignment together.
But I have to remember that kids aren’t born knowing this stuff.
So meanwhile, I’m back to obsessively checking Pinnacle. It’s a sickness, really. Cheerio!