micromanaging the homework like whoa

I will come right out and admit that I have not had to do this in the past. My oldest two kids handled their shit. Period. Once they started the sixth grade, I didn’t have to check on their homework or remind them to do it. They took responsibility for it and they knew that their grades were important for college so they did their best. My third kid was a little less enthused in middle school, but still kept her grades in the A-Cs and now that she is starting high school, she is all A/B and really working hard. Flash forward to my youngest kid and man, I am not enjoying the micromanaging that The GingerBeard Man and I are having to do in order to keep her on track.
I check the grades online daily. I email teachers about missing assignments and bad grades to ask for stuff she can work on at home to improve her knowledge of the subject matter. I am printing up and even creating worksheets for her to practice at home. I have subscribed to all of the classes Remind App notifications that are available. It’s ridiculous. Are other parents doing this? Is this normal? Like I am having to memorize where all the damn states are in order for her to? And the capitals? I don’t want to memorize the capitals again. Stahp.
And forget bribing this kid. Forget. It. Here’s the thing about my youngest daughter: she doesn’t care about losing privileges… she doesn’t care SO MUCH that it makes me think it might be related to the years of being in foster care and not having anything. Which then makes me feel terrible. But you can tell this girl that she will lose her electronics, her free time, her time with friends, sleepovers, fun trips places… she doesn’t care. She will hand it all over and dig her heels in. The look in her eyes is like two birds in your face. It’s super frustrating.
She is also Queen of The Excuses. My teacher didn’t show me that. I actually don’t have to do that homework. It’s not due until next week. Nevermind that I am showing her the email from her teacher that says something to the effect of ‘we covered this in class today, here is the homework for it, it’s due tomorrow.’ Her newest excuse is that she shouldn’t even be in middle school because she didn’t pass one of her standardized tests last year. Forget that the one she didn’t pass was math, which she has a 96 in right now and we are talking about science.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I feel her pain. Homework is absolute balls. But is also has to be done and I am not going to sit by while she flunks the sixth grade because she just doesn’t feel like doing anything. I just wish so much that she cared. Like I can get past the needing endless help if she actually cared about learning. Or cared about making good grades. She doesn’t care at all. She is just trying to check the box next to completed so she can move on with her day. Making good grades is just not important to her. It’s so effing frustrating.
I seriously sometimes have a little fantasy daydream that she is standing tall and poised on a stage as a young adult, wearing her cap and gown thanking her father and I for pushing her to do well in school. And I sit back in my seat and dab my eyes and think “it was all worth it.”

One more week until school starts…

As my kids have gotten older, I’ve begun to enjoy summer vacation more. Instead of driving them to daycare or having a sitter, the girls have been old enough now, for several years, to tend to themselves during the day while I am at work. And since I don’t have to get anyone ready for anything, I can leisurely get up in the mornings, make myself a cup of coffee and a breakfast taco and then hit the road. My drive to work is also nice because no one cares what I am listening to on the radio (these days it’s mostly podcasts).
Today begins the final week of that.
Next Monday, I will be getting up earlier and making sure two sleepy girls are up and getting ready for their First Day of 6th and 9th grade. Instead of making breakfast for four daughters, I will make it for two as I pack lunches for all of us and we pile into the car. The older of the two will undoubtedly declare that the front seat belongs to her, because you know – the oldest always get the front seat, and then we will head into town where I will deposit them at the middle and high school before driving away and squashing the little bit of anxiety that comes with knowing they are new fishies in a bigger pond.
And so it goes… another year will begin – filled with choir concerts and field trips, lost lunchboxes and PE excuse notes… There will be homework to check and permission slips to fill out and birthday party invitations… there will be carpools and late nights meeting the busses after competitions. There will be bakes sales and canned food drives and I’m willing to bet, there will even be a detention or a principal visit or two.
It’s all a bit like an old hat.
But it’s like an old comfortable hat… it’s a much better fit than that new hat from those first few years of school with all of the chaos, confusion, and learning how everything works. I remember trying to figure out how to handle all of those sick kid days, kicking myself for forgotten homework folders, wiping away the tears of frustration that come with a plate too full. I appreciate so much more the age I am in now, with older kids who have to shoulder some of the responsibility of themselves as they learn to start navigating the world of self sufficiency. So while I know I will be missing my podcasts so we can all listen to whatever is on pop top 40 these days, I am learning to sit back and enjoy, as much as one can, this bittersweet time in my life. Watching the last of my girls grow up and missing the grown up girls who have gone.