Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blah plus Tired

I've been Blah.
Plus Tired.

The first week of school absolutely TOOK it out of me.   I can only imagine how the kids feel.  We're just plain tuckered out.   I'm mentally spent from contemplating money, money at work, stressed about contracts, dinkering with MOTH's call schedule and pondering a whole bunch of solo-travel to meets across the state.  I'm exhausted at the very thought of doing the DC trip with my dad.  My brother's life has been nutty lately and he's backed out and re-inserted himself as the guardian traveling with my dad.  Changing plans meant lots of communication with a very crotchety old geezer who is in charge of the state's organization.   I've been coordinating the social and sports calendar for the fall semester.  Ee-gads is all I have to say.  But before you pass judgement, it's okay  . . I've got this.   For the record, it wouldn't be any better if we only had two kids.  It's the two older ones that are the busiest.    

I went to Parent's Open House at Big's school last week.  Middle school.  It was a great open house.  Lots of information.  I met all but one of her teachers, because, well, because I wanted to.  I listened to the policies and the rig-a-ma-roll on how to cover homework and absences.  What do do with a variety of parental concerns.  I listened to the schpeels on "everybody engaged".  I get it and I absolutely love the idea.  I love the idea of a partnership with parents and the schools instead of being left out of the loop.  Love. Love. Love.  

I have to write a little about how times are changing.  Yes, that makes me feel like a dinosaur.  Most times, I consider myself a pretty hip & cool mom.  I get text messaging and I speak the language of moody pre-teens.   But school has changed.  The expectations have changed.  A LOT.  It was kind of a surreal moment to come home and say to my not-even-a-teenager-yet daughter . . .

1.  Could you please sign me up for all the notify lists for your teachers on-line websites?  Yes.  All of her teachers post everything online.  Kids are expected to use the website as a syllabus, as it were, for the year. I think I really learned what a syllabus was in college.  Now, it's 6th grade.  They check homework, assignments and test dates on line.  Hmmm.  At open house, I learned that she earns something fabulous if she subscribes her parental units to get email notifications when something is updated.  Imagine my surprise when she said, "Oh, yea, I meant to talk to you about that.  I already did that, I hope that's okay."  Why, YES  .. . Thank the Gods she's on top of these things.

2.  Parent Connect.   Again, something not in existence in the days of the tattered old green grade book.  I can remember my mom keep track of HER students grades in those things.  Now, teachers put them into "the system" and kids & parents can log in at any time to play big brother.  

3.  Online textbooks.  Seriously.  They have video tutorials built in.  Um, wow, is all I really have to say to that.  And, "keep your password in a safe place, honey."  (That mostly seems like an appropriate thing to say anytime we deal with passwords, right?)

4.  A policy on digital thingies.  I signed a policy on digital thingies.  Actually, I signed two.  One is specifically for a digital photography class that Big is taking.  It's a whole room of iMacs.  Seriously.  The classroom looks like a Mac superstore at the mall, and has tablets at every station, too.  And a smart board.  That thing is rad.  Oh, to a child learning in this century.  How exciting.   So I signed a paper saying I would replace anything that my student jacks up during the class.  So if she spills green tea on the keyboard . . cha-ching.  If she drops a tablet . . . cha-ching.  If she loses the Nikon . . . cha-ching.   Then, I said, "honey, google the cost of these things, so you know how much babysitting you'll have to do if you jack something up."   I also signed a policy on cell phones, MP3 players and gaming devices.   In essence, they can't be seen or heard during school hours.  Makes sense.    I remember being in 6th grade and feeling like a complete rule-breaker when I snuck my brother's walkman into my backpack.  See, times change.  Big takes her cell to school and texts me when she is safely on grounds.

Alright, I have a lot more to say.  A LOT.  I've been stringing together lots of simple and superficial posts, but I actually have a few things to say.  But not now.  Mimi has gymnastics in 15 minutes and we're gonna be late if I don't move my ass.  Right. Now.

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