Parenting, Social Distancing Diaries, Thing 3

First Day Of School

Our city mandated that all public schools stay virtual for the first 9 weeks and our first day of school was yesterday. What a weird time we live in right now. I just kept reflecting all day about how Kim from 12 months ago would have looked at all of this and probably been a little scared because life seems so very different now. And Kim of today is definitely scared, but so much of the weirdness is for our safety that I’m actually grateful for it.

Wesley is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever known but he absolutely hates school. I mean…HATES IT. He is not motivated by any of the things our education system uses to motivate kids and so he has just powered through with minimal effort and done fine because he is so smart without really trying.

Now, that said, last year he applied himself a bit more because his elementary school was very adamant with the messaging of, “7th grade things start to get much harder so you better take 6th grade seriously or you’ll be very overwhelmed when you move up to Junior High.” He repeated that back to me a lot and he ended the year with his first ever A/B honor roll achievement.

All of this is to get us to this: During virtual schooling it takes a lot out of me to get him to actually do his work. He just isn’t as accountable to me as he is with a teacher in a classroom of his peers. We learned in the Spring that survival was our only goal, which was fine because everything was so crazy and stressful. But right now we are at the beginning of our first year of Junior High and we have to apply ourselves a bit more and so I need to be a bit more involved to help keep him on track. So! This is kind of our approach:

When he gets frustrated (which is often triggered by boredom, honestly) he needs to talk to me about it. Tell me what he needs. Not just scream or yell into the ether or just close the laptop and quit. These are some things he needs to ask himself to help him figure out how to use me in the most productive way:

  1. Do I need a snack?
  2. Do I need a drink?
  3. Do I need help with an assignment?
  4. Do I need to switch subjects and come back to this one?
  5. Do I need a break?
  6. Do I need to get out of the house for a bit?

This worked pretty well yesterday. He didn’t have a lot of work to do as most of it was “getting to know you” type stuff and “getting to know this new system” type activities. He took two breaks before he was done for the day. I kept reminding him to talk to me and tell me what he needed and at one point he said, “I need you to beat box.”

So…I started beat boxing! I thought he was just wanting something to make me look ridiculous so I leaned into it and tried to rap some answers to what he was working on in between my atrocious 45-year-old-white-lady beat boxing.

He looked at me like I was insane. Like…he was SO VERY CONFUSED BY MY ACTIONS. He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “You told me you needed me to beat box! I know it’s bad but it’s the best I can do.”

Then he started cracking up in a way that made it obvious that I had totally misunderstood him so I played everything back over in my head and then started laughing as I said, “Oh…wait…you said v-bucks! Not beat box!”

(V-bucks is Fortnite money.)

So, that was a funny moment that I made sure to write down in the bullet journal and now I’m documenting it here because we laughed so hard at the entire episode and I want those memories to overpower all of the other ones when this phase of our lives is (hopefully) past.

5 thoughts on “First Day Of School”

  1. Love it! Now you have some idea of what it’s been like most of my life with a hearing impairment. I’ve often had inappropriate responses to requests or statements, often with similar results… and sometimes not!

  2. Long time “lurker”. I just wanted to thank you so much for this perspective and these questions. I am building them into my routine with my kids, too. Thanks for sharing so much of your experiences and ideas, you have no idea how much it’s helped me at times.

  3. Ha! I make mistakes like that too. We start on Monday down here in Troy. My oldest is in 7th grade this year too. We still don’t exactly know what the virtual schedule is going to look like, but we are going to do the best we can! All of her friends are starting in person. She’s the only one of her friend group starting out online, so that’s a whole other aspect of it.

Leave a Reply