Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Progress Report

Since I started blogging, I have talked endlessly about helping Sugar with her homework, how we fight over math, and how we take a spelling test every night. In doing this, we spend time together (we don’t always fight!) and I can see how she’s doing in school. I’ve also even learned how to spell words like turquoise and rhinoceros without relying on spell check. Side note: last week “dungarees” was on the list. Does anyone EVER use this word anymore? I’m positive I’ve never even heard my 70-year-old dad use that gem.  

When Sugar started at the middle school, I was really worried. She has to work pretty hard to learn and for the first time ever, she’ll be getting actual grades this year. I know she wants to do well, but sometimes she doesn’t want it enough to work at it. I’ve been trying to have more fun with it this year to keep her interested. We’ve really been working hard at working together. It’s very difficult when the child learns and thinks in a way that is foreign to the mama.

Another way I monitor progress is by checking in on her school website. There is a login and password and I can see all her grades. Greatest. Invention. Ever. Since I finished school in December, I’ve been missing the stalking of the grade book. Now I’m back and it’s glorious to log in and see every blessed assignment. Oh yeah, if they give out prizes at the end of the year to the mom with the best stalking abilities, I might be a contender.

Yesterday Sugar came home with a “Safety Net Progress Report.” I looked it over and saw that it was basically the same information I’ve been looking at in PowerSchool. In fact, there’s enough detail listed that I could figure out which assignments were which and have even discussed some of them with Sugar. Her progress report was not a surprise to me mostly because I have been paying attention. I should also mention here that we hooted, hollered and high fived at how well she’s been doing. I’m very proud, she’s been working hard.

Later in the evening, I get a text from Skinny Bitch that someone on her Facebook friends list posted that her daughter brought home a Progress Report with all F’s on it. In so many ways, there’s so much wrong there… First, posting something like that publicly on Facebook? Do you really want everyone to know that your daughter is failing every class? Even worse, how would your daughter feel if she knew you had done that? I know some people are on my friend list only because their children are friends with my children… So now, there’s potential for this child’s friends to see that she’s failing everything.

Second, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to see how their kids are doing in school, even if they don’t have access to the Internet. Teachers send completed work home.  Teachers assign homework which can be checked by a parent before it’s turned in. In fact, our district loves that shiteous Everyday Math and sends home an answer key. So even if we are NOT smarter than our fifth graders, we can easily check their work! In addition, all completed assignments are sent home on Fridays in the Friday Folder, which is to be signed by the parent, stating that we have looked at our child’s work for the week. How on earth could these grades be a surprise to this mom?

And if the grades were in fact, NOT a surprise to this mom, what is she doing about it? Parents are given so many tools to use to ensure that their kids are getting the best education that can be given. We just have to maybe, stop for a moment and pay attention.

After meeting the basic needs of our children, there are a million things that we can give our kids. We can buy them craploads of “stuff.” We can pay for them to learn how to dance, sing, craft, or a thousand other things. We can sign them up to play their favorite sport. However, our kids grow up and toys are discarded. Gymnastics is deemed ‘boring’ and now there’s a desire for ice skating lessons instead.

However, we send our kids off to school at the ripe old age of five for kindergarten. They continue for the next 13 years until they (hopefully) graduate from high school. They start off with the basics of ABCs and 1-2-3s, and build on that until they’re trying to learn some crazy shit like Geometry. There’s really no reason whatsoever to not work alongside your kid for as long as they let you. It’s time spent together and you are showing interest in what they are learning. You’ll be amazed at what other information you learn about their school day during this time. It’s free to do and you can even learn something yourself-at the very least you can learn that you can put a math problem in Google and the solution pops right up. Not that you’ll be looking for answers mind you, but the steps on how to correctly get to the answer!

Your kids might lose their edge in baseball or ballet, but reading, writing and arithmetic… these skills they’ll have forever. No one can ever take what’s learned though a good education away from a child. So whether you stay at home or work full time, find just a few minutes on a regular basis to pay attention to what your kids are doing in school. It’s so worth it.

Ice Princess

Side note: I do realize there comes a day when my kid will have no interest in me looking at their homework. However, there’s still PowerSchool and I can still go online to see what work is being done, and what isn’t. 

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