If you don’t want to read about frustration, about anger, and about being at wit’s end, click the little red X, and get off the page. No one is forcing you to stay here – you have a choice to close the site, just like I have a choice to share my voice.
And I’m about to go off…
One month ago, Coach says, “I want to take you and the kids on a vacation.”
I say, “OK!! Where do you want to go?”
He says that he has three requests:
- Somewhere with a beach
- Somewhere with an all-inclusive package
- Somewhere that our cell phones do not work
In just ten days and some awesome help from my new friend at the travel agency, we booked an absolute dream vacation. One week ago, we left for that vacation, and it was INCREDIBLE. I can’t wait to share it with you…once I’m not seeing red through tears, struggling to breathe through anxiety, or feeling brokenhearted for my child.
See, when we flew into the country tonight (since it is now 4:15 am I guess that would be LAST NIGHT) and turned our cell phones back on, SonShine had a text from a friend who was panicking about a PreAP Freshman Reading assignment that is due TOMORROW. SonShine immediately starts panicking, too. Welcome home!
Come to find out, last year’s reading teacher gave them a sheet the day before school let out with instructions to read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies (both fabulous books that I agree with reading and dissecting and analyzing in wonderful depth). They are to be read during the summer and then complete questions about each book. I have no problem with that. In fact, I had already planned to review next year’s math courses with both kids as well as teach them the correct methods for information seeking strategies and research writing, but at Coach’s insistence we are waiting a few weeks so the kids can unwind, enjoy summer camps, family trips, and take a very well-deserved break after a year of great effort, some classroom chaos here and there, and even a few educational roller-coaster rides.
Anyways, we leave the airport, stop for a nice dinner, drive the 2+ hours home from the airport, arrive here around 10:30 pm, SonShine digs the instruction sheet out of his backpack that is still in his closet from the last day of school (June 6th), and discovers that he has to read the first book, annotate 9 different elements throughout the 128 pages, find examples of 12 different literary elements within the text, and write 3 different essays about the literal, allegorical, and moral levels of the story. AND IT IS DUE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL, IN A BLUE BOOK, TOMORROW (we think…the instructions say Tuesday, July 1, 2013, so who really knows!!!).
My heart is breaking for my child because he is totally amazing – a beautiful person with a huge heart, a tremendous leader who gives everything his all, and a bright, hard-working student who has tons of ambition and drive. And right now, he feels pure and utter terror at the fact that there is no way to get this read, annotated, and essays written in a manner he finds acceptable to earn a grade that he will be pleased with to begin his high school career. And I can see that terror all over his face, and I hear him say, “I’m so sorry, Mom,” when I know 1000% that he hasn’t done anything wrong. But he’s putting this all on himself, and it hurts me to see him hurt.
I want him to care about school, but I right now I feel like his determination to do well is not worth the fight. If a 15 year old, THIS 15 year old, feels like he doesn’t deserve 1 week of summer camp, 1 week of a summer break, and 1 week of summer vacation with his family because of school responsibilities, then there is something wrong with school.
I am struggling to breathe through anxiety because I can’t fix this for him. I offered removing him from the honors class, but he won’t even consider it (which I respect and applaud). I am an educator, I believe in lifelong learning, I have no problem with reading and writing and arithmetic over the summer, but I DO NOT condone this. I’m so distraught with the current trend of making decisions about kids that are not FOR kids. Why are we treating kids this way? Why do they have to self-teach the many valuable lessons within these two books instead of enjoying classroom discussion and debate with their peers?? Why is my precious son feeling like a failure at school in the middle of the stinking summer???
I am so mad that I am seeing red through my tears because if it is so all-important to get this done within the first three weeks of summer (ALL LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ASSESSED A 25 POINT PENALTY), then why were the parents not made aware of the damn thing???
We get phone dialers to vote for playground sweepstakes. We get paper flyers for every church’s VBS. And we get emails for playoff ballgames. So why in the hell can we not get a single piece of communication about a huge assignment that is due during summer??? Due during the first 3 weeks of summer, no less???
I simply feel sick. And tired. And I really don’t want to feel sick and tired when I only have four years left with this kid who is a blessing and a gift and a treasure. My sweet babies deserve better. From me. From their schools.
I wish I had it in me to tell him not to care, but that’s a huge part of him, and that’s one of the gazillion reasons why I love him so very much. And not caring is just not us…
So, I have three requests of my own at this point:
- Use the technology at your fingertips to practice a decent level of parent communication
- Stop punishing the good kids for trying so hard to succeed that they take on more than they should
- Please send me back to Mexico
Buenos noches, mi amigos. Buenos noches…