Tag Archives: high school

On Middle School and Happiness

As Chloe’s middle school graduation approaches, I feel a bit unmoored and I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

For every positive thought I have when I think about the milestone – pride, relief, happiness, excitement for Chloe’s future – I have an equal and opposite reaction, and those reactions all essentially revolve around the overwhelming fact that in three short months, my 14-year old will be a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL. Setting aside the fact that this makes me feel old, it primarily makes me nervous, but not for the reasons you might think.

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Homework Blues

Woe is me. At the beginning of the school year, Chloe and I agreed that her after-school schedule would be as follows:

(1) treat
(2) homework
(3) play/tv
(4) dinner
(5) play
(6) bed

For the most part, I’ve been fairly strict about adhering to the rules. The one exception is Thursdays, when our babysitter watches the girls and I have several uninterrupted and precious hours of alone time. Today, our babysitter gave Sophie and Chloe a break from the rainy weather and took them to the local McDonald’s to play at the indoor playground.

When they got home, I reminded Chloe that she had some homework to do. But it was 6 o’clock, which is her usual TV time. She asked if she could do her work after the shows, and since I was not in the mood for a screaming child (she had already taxed my patience earlier today during a rare morning bath), I acceded to her request. To her credit, this is not something she asks to do often, as she is actually pretty diligent about her homework. But stupid, stupid Mommy nonetheless.

Truth be told, I’ve actually enjoyed helping her with her daily assignments. I look at that 1/2 hour as an opportunity for us to talk about her day at school. And I admire her facility with math, and her increasing ease with reading.

In another break from the rules, she completed the math portion of her homework during the TV commercials. But the reading part was more complicated than usual, so we didn’t start it until after her show was over at 7 pm.

It would be generous of me to say that she was distracted. She needed to answer some reading comprehension questions, and it took her FOREVER (ok, I’m exaggerating) to write her responses. And since I’m never going to win any awards for my patience, this was torture. She was unfocused and sloppy. At one point, she needed to write “Mr. Green,” a character in the text she had just read. It took her FIVE times to spell it correctly – at one point Chloe had even transgendered him – even though the name appeared at the top of the page. Following are Chloe’s various permutations of Mr. Green:

(1) Ms. Green’s
(2) Mr. Greern
(3) Mr. Gereen
(4) Mr. Greeen

She practically erased a hole into her paper. After 30 excruciating minutes, the ordeal was finally over. Of course, my frustration grew in direct proportion to my recognition that this was all my doing.

Chloe is in first grade. There are about 7 more months in first grade. And an additional 110 months of schooling before she graduates from high school. And when you add Sophie into the mix, that’s yet another 30 months. So 147 school months until both girls are in college (hopefully), which translates into 147 months of assignments. Suddenly, homework has lost some of its appeal.

Calgon, take me away!