Every two weeks, my 11-year old and I meet with her supervisory teacher. Grace attends a public charter school and does most of her coursework at home, like a homeschooler, except that she is accountable for her attendance and progress to the public school. She’s been doing this for three years now. And before that, her older brothers were enrolled in a similar school.
All told, I’ve had at least one kid doing “school at home” for ten years.
I can’t even begin to express how tired I am of supervising kids as they do school work. But even worse–much, much, much worse–are the meetings with the teacher.
The teacher is nice enough and maybe under other circumstances we’d be friends, but how I dread those meetings with her! First of all, we have to get all Grace’s work sorted and documented and hole-punched. Inevitably, I realize that I hadn’t really checked up on her most recent literature lessons and she’s been working independently and I have no idea what she’s really done. And then I find that she’s missing a lesson here or there, or maybe not a whole lesson, but just a worksheet. This always comes as a complete shock to me and somewhat of a mystery to my daughter.
This all happens in the hours before we’re to go to the meeting, so I turn into a frantic robot, trying to hurry her along, trying to will her to work faster and more efficiently and without any mistakes.
I say extremely pointless things like, “Why didn’t you do that?” and “Where is that paper?” and “Did you write down those vocabulary words?” and “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”
Inevitably, my 11-year old pouts. She can’t help it, really, because I’ve become a lunatic and question her imperfection. No one is perfect. I know this. I demonstrate this as I try to gather the material for meeting day.
I just hate it.
I hate it all.
So today we focused on History because the last time we met with the teacher, she told us we needed to do better in History. So today we ran through each lesson, filled out every worksheet completely, corrected errors, discussed Sam Adams and George Washington and Thomas Paine. We were totally 100% ready. For History.
The teacher, however, focused on Literature.
That’s how it always goes. She finds our weaknesses, the subject we glossed over, the frayed spots in the fabric of our schooling experience. Grace sits with a terrified look on her face, unable to describe the reason Rip Van Winkle was written.
The good thing is that we have one more week of school and then two glorious weeks off.
The bad thing is that we have another five months of school at home.
The good thing is that my daughter is learning a lot.
The bad thing is that I am LOSING MY MIND.
My husband says I will miss this, that I will lament the passing of this time but I think he’s wrong. I haven’t really been alone in my own house for twenty years. I have the opposite of empty nest syndrome and I think it will be the antidote to whatever comes next when all these kids have flown the coop.
But what do I know? (Certainly not what the supervisory teacher is asking.)