Did I miss the memo??

Yes, another parenting dilemma. Well, maybe it’s one of those dilemma’s that’s “just me”, but it is still a dilemma in my world. I was just wondering when it became necessary to oversee your children’s schoolwork, grades and teacher interactions with the finesse of an FBI or CIA agent? When or where was it voted on (and approved obviously without my knowledge) that knowing every detail of their school experience would be good for me or any other parent for that matter??

The newest in technological advances include being able to see your children’s grades, almost immediately, posted online. This is not just an overview, no sir, this is every homework assignment, every quiz and every test…I’m surprised that they don’t post trips to the bathroom! With this knowledge comes great responsibility, of course.

Now that I can access this information I am almost “expected” to check this constantly. Not just weekly, or bi-weekly, but DAILY. Yes, I should be completely aware and involved in my sons’ academic activity. I suppose that this is a way to encourage regular nagging to make sure that they complete assignments on time and that they study for upcoming tests and quizzes…but it doesn’t really work that way for me.

Please don’t misunderstand, I am all for being in tune to what is going on in my children’s classes and in making sure that they put in their best effort and get the most out of their education that is possible. Truly. I was raised with the expectation that there be nothing below a “C” on my report card or I would be forced to suffer through some form of punishment, be it grounding from life’s fun times or a debilitating lecture that let me know that my parents were “disappointed”. Most of my school life I managed A’s and B’s regularly and expect the same from my sons now.

The part that I find so annoying, and presumptuous, is that I am now basically held hostage to this online forum. Not only do they post the grades online, but the assignments are online as well – so there is no paper trail of a syllabus to speak of from what I have seen (then again, I haven’t rifled through my son’s backpack and binder this week which I am sure is also on my “parental to-do list”) Nor does it make the teachers any more accountable for what is assigned, retrieved and graded. My son has been going in a loop with his Spanish teacher for two weeks over supposed missing assignments that have resulted in failing marks, only to be told that “look here, I found them in this pile on my desk”. Hmmm…really? This is also the same teacher that I have emailed twice regarding this issue and never received a reply. Double Hmmm…. (By the way, since that finding I have yet to see the grade corrections made online, so he still has an “F” this week.)

What is a parent to do? This all makes home-schooling look like nirvana! Seriously. I feel as if the world has shifted off of it’s axis and left me spinning in my tracks about a half of a beat behind all of the other parents. You know those parents, or maybe you ARE one of those parents, who know when each and every quiz and test is coming and check the online sources not only daily but almost hourly. They also sit down and help their child study, until midnight if necessary, with flashcards and diagrams and the computer “googling” away  just to make sure that little Bobby passes his Science test.

It really is just me, isn’t it? I am a bad parent, a rebel without a cause.

I guess that those overseas experiences that we have touted to our kids as being “great life lessons” have their rewards…and repercussions. In my case it’s feeling lost in the American school system, not knowing what is really expected of me as a parent or what is truly expected of my children as students. Or is it just feeling resentment that the rules have been changed and I didn’t get the memo? Either way, I am trying to assimilate and step-up to the new challenges – faking it if I have to – because, the way I see it, if I don’t my boys will be living under the freeway (or in my basement) in their adulthood and I do not cherish that idea.

Just when I thought my schooling was over I realize that it’s only just begun.

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