Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Little Parent

Every morning my SIL drops her daughter off at our house on her way to work. She has to be to work at 7 but the bus doesn't come until 8:15. Since they (the niece and LM) go to the same school, it makes sense for her to come here for an hour every morning, then walk to the bus stop with LM.

LM and the 7yo have a cute relationship. He acts more like her big brother than her cousin. He teases her about boyfriends and scolds her when she misbehaves. She defers to him, asking his permission for things and doing what he tells her. It's cute.

Yesterday morning they were at the breakfast table together and I overheard the following. It totally cracked me up.

7yo: Can I please be excused? (this said to LM, not me)

LM: Take one more bite. And not a little one either!

7yo: I just did!

LM: Take another one.

7yo: Fine!

LM: Hey, don't eat like a pig!

7yo: Sorry.

LM: Alright, you can be excused now.

7yo: Thanks!

LM: Thank you for listening to me. What's the one rule I have? Respect your..

7yo: You?

LM: your elders.

7yo: Oh, right. Ok.

They leave the table and Little Man heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Halfway down the hallway she catches up with him.

LM: Go clear your bowl!

7yo: *giggles* Oh, sorry.

Then she marched back to the table, cleared it and, at his direction, went and brushed her teeth. They kill me!

He'd be such a good big brother!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We all know The Girl has homework issues. We've been battling them for years and years. I don't imagine we're going to win the war anytime soon, either.

When she was getting ready to enter middle school, MM and I had major concerns about sending her to our public school. It doesn't have a very good reputation. We have 6 elementary schools in our town, and every single one of them dumps into the middle school. It's overcrowded and has been known to have problems with drugs and alcohol, not to mention delinquent behavior from its students. With TG's history we weren't sure it would be a good fit.

We talked about sending her to the local Christian school, but she begged us to let her try the public school first. All of her friends were going to the public school and they had more extracurricular activities for her to try. Those arguments didn't sway me, but we agreed to let her try it out after learning about their online grade system, ZAP program and guidance counselors.

ZAP = Zeros Aren't Permitted. If a child has a missing assignment the teacher fills out a ZAP form and the parents get an automated call along with a letter telling us there's a missing assignment. The child then has lunch detention until the assignment is completed and turned in. Most teachers take points away for every day the assignment isn't turned in.

Aside: Personally I think the ZAP program is a joke. I think if a child doesn't turn in an assignment they should get a zero for it. What's the incentive to get homework done and turned in if they don't get a zero? :End

So far the system has been working. I check TG's grades online once a week and if she has any missing assignments we take appropriate action (ie, make her life hell). My only problem? Well, ok, my only two problems? 1) TG still misses and assignments and 2) her math teacher.

I don't know if her Algebra teacher has problems with technology or what, but he never updates the online website. If he doesn't log missing assignments in to the computer, it doesn't trigger the ZAP program and I don't get notified, either via website, phone call or mailed letter. Which means I have no way of knowing if she's turning her assignments in. Which is bad!

That just happened again today. It's the end of the semester and time for report cards to come out. We have parent teacher conferences on Friday and today her Algebra teacher finally finished entering all the grades online. Guess how many assignments TG is missing? Go ahead, guess.

Five. 5. FIVE.


He hadn't updated the site since January, so all these missing assignments are from February.


She's had 5 missing assignments in his class, which brought her grade from an A- down to a D! and I didn't hear a word about it. MY CHILD HAS A D IN MATH AND I DIDN'T FIND OUT UNTIL TODAY.


I'm not saying that TG not turning her assignments in is the teacher's fault, but my not knowing about it is. If I don't know, how can I correct the problem if I don't know about it? I believe the teacher has a responsibility to let me know what's going on with my child. Right?

And you know what a D on TG's report card means? No car! We had also worked out a deal regarding a trip to Knott's Berry Farm and my old e-reader (which TG desperately wants) and those are both off the table, too. She'll be lucky if she survives the next week. Oh, and the best part? She has straight A's in all her other classes. My kids has 5 A's and a D.


While I was in the midst of writing this I got a phone call from Little Man's language arts teacher. Apparently he's gotten into the habit of not turning in assignments as well. His teacher said he was supposed to turn in a book report before spring break (our spring break was last week) and she's given him days since then to turn it in and he hasn't. He'll now be getting a zero on it. It's a 30 point assignment. She also said at least once a week he doesn't turn in his homework.

So, who's going to come visit me in jail? It's either that or the funny farm.

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