Diplomas

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I have collected a few diplomas over the last few decades.

In 1975, I finished my 6th grade year at elementary school.  My big memories of “graduation” are that I chipped my tooth on the side of the pool at the 6th grade pool/picnic; I got a new dress and a training bra; and, I was mortified when my Mom brought my gift (an electric razor) to the assembly/ceremony.  This picture was taken moments after I opened that gift… (and immediately handed it back to her). Note the new puka shell necklace too…

(Update/Sidenote…After reading this blog post…My mom called to say she was mortified that she chose such a “dumb” gift… I need to clarify that I ASKED for that fancy electric razor!  Haha)

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In 1978, I walked across a stage and received a Junior High School diploma. I’m not sure how it all worked out, but I ended up being asked to sit in the front row.  Turns out I was in the Top 2% of the class.  I didn’t even know they had that recognition.  It was nothing I set a goal to achieve. It was an accident. I just went to school, did the work, came home and finished what was assigned to me..then showed up for another day.  Junior High sort of had a “survival element” to it.  My glasses, braces (to help fix the chip), short hair, and overall “nerdness” kept me in my own little world.  There were lots of bullies wandering the halls (MIke H broke my puka shell necklace in the 7th grade during social studies) and I just navigated my way to find ways to fly under the radar. I love(d) sewing and took it as my 8th grade elective. I made some of my own clothes…designed them.. and was proud of wearing them.  I didn’t care what was trendy or hip or “In”.  As I reflect, I am thankful that my parents didn’t comment on my fashion choices (if you could call it that), or ask if I had done my homework, or given their opinion on everything little thing and noted how it would impact my future.  I think I would have been really stressed out!  (Having an aha moment)…{shift in blog occurring}

In 1981, I celebrated the end of High School and the anticipation of college – FREEDOM! Check out the early 80s hair!

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1985…another diploma (barely had the GPA)…but I had a helluva great time socializing and learning about people for four years!

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…I took that diploma in Business Administration and entered the male-dominated business world {My parents always told me I could do anything a boy could do!}…but I kept being drawn to education. After 5 years…I went BACK TO SCHOOL and earned a teaching credential/diploma.  {It seems I love to learn}.

In 1997, I walk the stage for a Masters of Education.  (Btw…to get into that Graduate program…I had to do some amazing “sales pitches” on my “less than stellar undergrad gpa”…good thing I had that Marketing degree!)

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Now I’m working on a Doctorate in Parenting.  I’m pretty sure there is no ceremony or diploma for it…since the coursework will never really be completed.

But here is what feel– in my core–in my heart.  My kids’ diplomas WILL NOT (nor should not), in any way, be my parenting diploma.

Aha Moment… My kids get their own Education Adventure!!!!

I sort of just had this big revelation in the last few days as I grappled with another new school year. As I chat with many of my pals, it seems that many are really stressed out about how our kids are doing in school…even more focused on GPA and how that will impact college and grad school and ….Life.

I had, for less than a better description, Homework Wars, with DS12 last year when he was -well basically- failing with Ds and Fs.  A majority of parents in my community have been sucked into PARENTLINK (an on-line daily update of scores and grades).  I would get an email or text notification that grades had been posted…and then I found myself, nagging, lecturing, begging, bargaining with my kids to take care of those missing assignments.  These energy draining methods are the parenting strategies that Parenting on Track has asked me release from my gameplan for building a relationship with my kids.

I’ve known, deep down, that getting out of the way and giving my kid’s their own education, fits with my core beliefs as a teacher. We all learn from our own experiences, not from a lecture or textbook.

As one my favorite mentors, John Dewey states:

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…and then there were crazy concidence yesterday (or most likely not!)…

I stumbled on a book in my iPad library (that I bought a year ago when the title fit) by Love and Logic creators.  The amazing team that guided me in the early years of parenting and as a new teacher:

From Bad Grades, To a Great Life!

Then…I found a podcast with Rick Ackerly hosted by Vicki

Homework, What’s a Parent to Do?

Then she posted a new blog in the afternoon:

Homework Police, It’s Time to Retire

The biggest common message: Homework is not my problem…and if it is a problem, the only one who can fix it is my kid.  

So…I’m applying more duct tape, (aka-stop interfering), and I am going to trust my kids!

First step: As VP of Communications at our Home HQ, I have recommended to my DH and “Parenting Partner in the Trenches” that we UNPLUG from PARENTLINK. No looking, no peeking, no snooping, no micromanaging our kid’s scores UNLESS…

Step Two: ….we are invited!

We need to give the choice to our kids.  So I will slowly over the next week, do what Rick suggests: Have a meeting/discussion with each of the kids and ask them “How do you want us involved in your schoolwork?”

Step Three: Apply a ton of duct tape for everytime I want to say:

  • Is Your Homework Done?
  • When is that Due?
  • Do you have a test?
  • Have you studied?
  • Did you talk to your teacher about that?
  • No…not until you have all those missing assignments taken care of…
  • Ya know…good students do “such and such”…and other crazy advise
  • If ya turn off that TV, you’d have more time…

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YIKES…

Hi, Im Mary and I’m a recovering MM (Micromanaging Mama)….

Never did any of this as a teacher in the classroom…Didn’t believe in it…What the flip happened at home?

I think I beginning to figure it out…more on that later…

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About Teacher Mom

I am an educator who attended public school, taught public school, and sent her three teens to "brick and mortar" public school. My daughter is a senior, and ready to graduate and attend a public university out of state. My sophomore son attends a public magnet school. My freshman son will finish his school year through a public online charter school. This is my reflections.

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