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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Parenting lessons I have learned this week.

On Monday, both kids got in the car and declared that they had "so much homework"!  As we discussed what they each had to do on they way home they both lamented that they probably wouldn't be done in time to go to Scouts. 

And sure enough, Sarah didn't finish until 7:30 and Peter didn't finish until 10:00!  But don't feel too bad for him because after a brief discussion, I learned that a large chunk of what he was working on had been assigned at the end of last week and he had ample time to complete it or at least to start it over the weekend which he chose not to do.

Peter operates under the misguided notion that if it's not due the next day then he doesn't have to work on it.  I'm well aware that his middle school teachers are trying to prepare him for the rigors of Catholic high school  and even college.  And we all know that in both high school and college you aren't going to be able to do everything the night before.

We had a nice little discussion on planning out his work and working ahead when he has free time and he agreed to do a better job and all was well.  Although, I have a feeling, this same thing is going to happen again.  But we will see.

As a middle school parent, I try to back off and let the kids do their thing but some times you need to step in and make sure they aren't blowing it.  Back in the elementary days, I used to go online and check to see what homework they had due and make sure they did it.  Now, I don't ever check because they are old enough to know what they have to do, when it's due and how to get it done. 

However, I think I need to occassionaly take a little sneak peak at his homework every now and then and try to encourage some working ahead if it looks like a lot of things are going to be due on the same day.

So, while I'm trying to be a little more helpful with Peter because he needs a little help with time management, I've got Sarah who is just the opposite.

She is so obsessed with wanting to get everything done so she can go to swim practice that she has been very intentional about knowing what she has, when it is due and what she needs to work ahead on so she can make swim practice and Girl Scouts.  (Unfortunately, Monday night was one of those perfect storm nights where several teachers assigned things that were due the next day and she wasn't able to work ahead.)  Dan and I always say that school comes first so if missing Scouts or swim practice is the result, then so be it.  But some times it makes for very sad kids.

Anway, back to Sarah. She had been very excited about a Girl Scout trip to Great Wolf Lodge last weekend.  The girls were leaving last Saturday morning and wouldn't be back until Sunday afternoon.  She had a project due on Monday morning and on Thursday afternoon she  she decided that she would spend all Friday afternoon and evening working on the project so she could enjoy her trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  She even skipped her normal Friday afternoon play date with Cheyanne (Can you still call them that in middle school???  Probably not but you get my drift.)

For her project she had to take one of her summer reading books and create a movie poster that would entice people to see the movie.  It had to be representative of a scene from the book.

The book she chose for this project was Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.  She told me what she wanted to do and then I proceeded to stick my big nose into it and tell her how I thought she should do it.  And then she got frustrated and then I tried to help her more and she got even more frustrated and then I got frustrated and we went back and forth for a bit until I realized that she just needed to try it her way and then she would see I was right and I could help her.

So I went next door to my parent's house to start working on dinner figuring that she would come over at some point and ask for my expertise/help/motherly support.


After I got out of her way, she whipped this out:

(This is before she put the title of the book on it.)  Isn't fabulous!?! And this is what she did when I got out of her way.

So from the last week of parenting, I have learned two important lessons.

Lesson number 1 learned from Peter:  You need to get involved an offer some guidance and support. 

Lesson number 2 learned from Sarah:  You need to be un-involved and offer no guidance and no support. 

No wonder I never seem to know what to do!!!! 

1 comment:

Madeline said...

Isn't that something? I am far behind you in the raising two kids camp but it is so striking how they need opposite things from me at times. And then what they need one day isn't at all what works the next. But you've described it perfectly and I need to remember that often, no parent knows what to do! I hope Sarah was graded well because that painting is gorgeous!