Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What if I just homeschooled?

Why is it I always feel like I need a vacation from my vacation? I could barely haul myself out of bed Monday morning, but I really wasn't getting up that much earlier than during vacation. I dragged butt ALL DAY LONG at the office, and accomplished umm...exactly NOTHING.

And it's not like we did anything terribly strenuous while I was home last week, unless, of course, you count getting into and out of a swimming suit every day as strenuous. Oh, and I did some laundry. But that was it.

I did manage to get to the gym yesterday, so that was a move in the right direction. Now, if I can just keep up with it, things will be wonderful!

The girls started school yesterday. They barely had half a day and will have early dismissal for the rest of the week. What the heck? Why? When school starts it should actually start, right? Not just choke to life over the course of a week. Kids are resilient and can hit the ground running, they don't need to be babied and eased back into the school routine. Absolutely ridiculous.

Unruly has a male teacher this year, which she is extremely excited about. I didn't get my first male teacher until 7th grade, so seeing a man who WANTS to be in a room full of first-graders is kind of unusual. Or he's raving mad. But, he seems like he really loves being a teacher. And, how can you go wrong with a teacher who has "The Incredibles, "Spiderman" and "Superman" posters on his walls? I don't think you can. And maybe Unruly will see a man more of an authority figure rather than someone she can just walk all over and disregard entirely.

Wild got a rude awakening about high school. She failed a few classes last year and managed to finish the year out with a less than 2.5 GPA. School policy says that if you have less than a 2.5 GPA you must take a study hall. The counselor's exact words were "If you couldn't handle seven hours last year, we definitely don't think you can handle it this year." Hmmm...I think he may have something there.

This leaves her in a situation where she is now three classes behind her requirements needed for graduation, and another two classes automatically negated because of the study hall requirement. She understands now that because she screwed around last year she will NOT be graduating with the rest of her class. The counselor made that very clear to her. The school does not offer summer school make-up classes. The community college, however, does. But I'm not paying $300-$400 for her to take a class she failed in the first place. She is old enough to face up to the consequences for her choices, and the failing grades was a CHOICE. She's not dumb. She's just not motivated and how the heck do you motivate a 15-year-old? Maybe the prospect of not graduating will motivate her ass into getting decent grades this semester, because if she does, she may have the chance to drop the study hall next semester and take a required class instead. And that may help her get caught up.

We'll see what happens.

Lucky me! I have one kid who doesn't play well with others but is a perfectionist who expects only the best from herself and is absolutely brilliant, and another who is an overactive socialite with tendencies towards depression and enough smarts to get the job done well but just doesn't care. This is going to be an exciting school year!

Maybe I should hang up my journalist's hat and homeschool the girls?

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I crack myself up.


Lisa said...

Seth has been in kindergarten one week and I've already got a phone call from the teacher to let me know he's not listening.

I hope the school year isn't filled with crap (for both of us.)

Sona said...


As someone who came dangerously close to not graduating due to an english assignment - I've been in those shoes and they are not fun.

Good luck!

Jeff said...

I sympathize with Wild. I was a world class procrastinator in school. I wish her (and you!) the best of luck!

Diesel said...

I was the smart one with tendencies toward depression who didn't care about school. I turned out ok, I think. School is kind of stupid, after all.

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

I hope you work with your 15-year-old on the idea that she's not necessarily screwed for the rest of her high school career. I think the consequences of feeling like she'll always be behind her friends are potentially earth-shattering — she may not feel like she can get into college, or even want to go. She may lose interest in her studies, and see high school as a prison. She may get some menial job right out of school, or marry the first dipshit who makes her feel wanted enough.

So (freely acknowledging that I'm not a parent and may not necessarily know what the hell I'm talking about), I'd sit her down and ask her:

1. Is she willing to do what it takes to get caught back up? Even if it means curtailing her social life?

2. Is she happy being behind her friends? Does it matter to her?

If she seems receptive to making up the lost ground, make her a deal: If she's willing to get a part-time job and pay for half, you and your husband will pay for the other half of the costs of the community college classes she'll need to take to get caught up.

Make sure she understands what all it would entail ... and what the consequences would be.

But don't let her give up too easily. And don't give up on her too easily. Most of this will need to come from her ... but a little from the both of you could go a long way.

Jenn said...

Lisa...when my cell rang yesterday afternoon and the caller ID said "Elem. School" I thought "Oh, geez, it begins already. Wonder what she's done now." But it was (thankfully!) the school counselor wanting to know if we wanted to continue counseling with Unruly again this year. Which was a big fat YES!

Sona, Jeff, Diesel...watching her just not give two shits about school and grades is very, very hard for me because I was an honor roll student during my ENTIRE school career. Grades were important. Succeeding was important. We've battled this attitude towards school since she started school and it hasn't improved. Like Diesel, she just doesn't see the point in school and thinks it's a HUGE waste of her time.

Ninja...she has already expressed a desire to do better, and has already told her best friend to expect to spend less time with her because she wants to get her grades up so she doesn't have to take the study hall next semester. Which is a big, positive change. But, we'll see if it lasts.

If she can show us this year that she is willing to work hard to pass her classes, we'll consider paying for the classes at the college, but with her current track record in mind, we're not willing to do that yet.

She seems pretty upset that she's behind the rest of her class. She didn't know she was until last week when reality smacked her right upside her head. Maybe that's what it took to motivate her...the fear of not graduating.

She has NEVER had much interest in college and is currently in that typical teenage mindset where once she graduates from high school, everything will just kind of appear magically and she'll magically have the money for rent and a new car and be able to party with her friends every night wearing the newest style. And right now, you can't tell her otherwise.

goat roper said...

Both unruly and wild are awesome young ladies! They possess different strengths and weaknesses, presenting you the opportunity to excel as a parent as you 'coach' both to acheive individual potential and goals. :)
And, I am so glad to be retired from 'child rearing'....

Rebecca said...

Jenn--- what happened? Where'd you go Friday night? I was so looking forward to you being there!

Jenn said...

Goat Roper...Oh sure, now it's an opportunity! I thought they were just pains in my butt. :P Good thing I love the little buggers.

Rebecca...see the previous post about needing llamas...my car died Friday. Utterly dead, dead, dead. I wasn't able to get a replacement vehicle until Saturday. I was looking forward to being there, too, and had no one's cell phone to let ya'll know I was stranded on the Illinois side.

MP said...

I wasn't motivated but was able to eeek by with B's and C's. I guess I was lucky. I was NOT motivated in college either..hence no degree. I have NO idea how you motivate a 15 year old..I had friends w/ straight A's and my mother was a teacher... I only love to learn about what I want to know about..not always what you set in front of me..your daughter may be like that..
My title at work though is Director..and I can kick booty in trival pursuit :-)...
I also have commen sense. I bet your daughter does too..doesn't she?
(oh and I can't spell worth a damn)

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

Jenn, I think she's just at the beginning of figuring out for herself that the good life won't just magically appear after high school. Just resist the temptation to lecture her about it ... and instead make clear that you're there for her when she's ready to talk.

Make some notes:

Minimum-wage (or slightly over) full-time job: $500 every two weeks after taxes, $1,000 a month.

Apartment rent with a roommate: $250 minimum, probably more like $350.

Food: $50 a week minimum.

Gas: $20 a week minimum.

Car insurance and maintenance: Varies, but estimate $100 a month.

Entertainment/clothes/makeup: starts at $250 a month on average, I'd guess.

Cell phone bill: Say $50 a month.

Half-share of cable/power/other utlities: $80 a month minimum.

Emergency/unforeseen expenses: $100 a month minimum.

Ability to find dumbass boyfriend to pay for most of this: Negligible.

Ability to practice voodoo economics: Priceless.

amy said...

mp- Wild and common sense go together like...oh, I dunno...water and oil...A cat in a bath...A hammer to a light bulb...Jenn and sanity...


Wild's a sweetie though. Don't argue, Jenn! She's a teen and you're her mom, of course she isn't a sweetie to you! But she is to me, so there :p

Heather said...

I think anyone who can spend all day in a room full of first graders is certifiable.

When someone asks me if I've thought about homeschooling Payton, I look at them like they have two heads.

nell said...

I'm trying to picture you teaching them in your bathing suit...

Dorky Dad said...

I couldn't homeschool. I'd go nuts. I'd STILL end up doing his homework for him.

Jenn said...


For ten seconds, I thought that you were serious.


Marriage-101 said...

Best of luck to all of you! I know you were only kidding, but I have mixed opinions about homeschooling. I've seen it work, but the kids have social issues. And I've also seen it fail, where the kid couldn't pass his GED. Pros and cons to everything I suppose.

Jenn said...

Ninja...funny how that works out to zero, you master of economic mathematics!

Amy...You can have her sweet self. Her bag is already packed from the last time I tried to pawn her off.

Heather...hehe! I'd be hauled out of the classroom in a strait-jacket. One first grader, I can handle. 20 of them? Uhhh...no thanks!

Nell...nothing like teaching about the Roman empire with a pina colada in your hand and your feet in the pool.

DD...You should have been my dad. No one ever offered to do my homework.

Jenn...at one point I seriously considered it. Then, the mind-altering drugs wore off.

Marriage 101...I have friends who homeschool. One family homeschools wonderfully. Both boys were polite, well-educated and a joy to be around. The other family, while the kids are smart and obviously well-taught, are seriously lacking some social skills. I just know I couldn't do much better than their teachers, because I didn't go to school to learn how to teach. And I have a really hard time remembering those dates in history.