Thursday, January 15, 2009

the plight of romania

on dec. 4 the girl (sixth grader) was given information about a project for social studies that would be due jan. 14.

her task was basically to learn all she could about romania. she had 12 sections to cover (transportation, myth (vlad the impaler), composer, writer, landmarks, etc.) and each was to be at least half a typed page and a picture.

there were some other things (examples of the flag, make a postcard that would entice people to come to that country and talk about some current events).

historically when the girl has had big projects i hounded her to death. and would take the notes she had compiled on something and type them for her (cos she couldn’t type). now that she’s in middle school, (and taking keyboarding), i have stayed out of it for the most part. i have periodically asked if she’s working on the project, yes, she’d say. the hubs would ask, yes, she’d say. we didn’t have a working printer at home, so last week she asked me to print stuff out at work. idid that.

this weekend i was getting antsy about her project. our desk top had been on the fritz (is now replaced) and she’d used the hubs’ lap top to work on her project.

i started grilling her about the project over the weekend and the hubs again asked her if she had it under control or did she need help, she said she was good. she spent a lot of time on the computer.

the night before the project was due i asked her about it again. she said she had a little bit more to do. i tried to hook our old printer to the new computer tuesday night and they weren’t compatible. the hubs went out, at 9pm, to get the appropriate cord. the girl was still working on her project. she worked on it until midnight. it was not finished. it was no where near finished. early in the evening we realized she’d not been working on it all the time she told us she had. she….procrastinated. and lied.

she went to bed, project unfinished, printer not able to print. i was sick w/ anger and disappointment and i don’t know what else. she has always been a great student. always gets good grades, etc. i knew not turning the paper in on time would cost her points (though i still haven’t figured out the convoluted system the teacher spelled out for what each part of the project was worth).

the day the report was due she told the teacher she procrastinated and that a tiny bit of the problem was our printer didn’t work. i told the girl i was proud of her for owning up to her issue but that it really had little to do w/ the printer, cos if she’d have had it done i would have taken it somewhere, anywhere, to print it out.

she worked on it again last night, until midnight. she’s been dragging the last two mornings. we sent the report in on a cd and i emailed it to the teacher to be safe.

i have since calmed down. i started a post tuesday night when we were in the crux of this and it was just unreadable anger and pissedoffedness.

i bounce between disappointment in her for just not even trying to get it done and LYING to us that she was doing it and anger at myself for not being more on top of what she was doing and passing on my bad procrastinating habit.

should i have helped her with it? should i have let her stay home “sick” yesterday and finish it? i was torn all the way around. my hope is, that since it was such a nightmare, so stressful, so tiring, that maybe this will teach her a lesson? hopefully? yesterday morning i ached for her having to go in to school and tell her teacher she didn’t have her project done. the teacher was as shocked as we were. this just isn’t like the girl.

the project is turned it; hopefully a lesson has been learned and we’re implementing stricter homework policies for all.

sometimes being a parent really blows. now i don't know whether to believe her when she tells me her homework is done (she SAYS she finishes it at daycare). i see her report card, i know she gets good grades. and i know how very lucky we are that we have bright kids and they don't have a lot of problems in school and i know things could be worse. my parents never checked my homework, they weren't involved really in my school work, at least not that i can remember. maybe it was different w/ my brother and sister, but i knew when i had homework and i did it.


Kristin.... said...

You didn't fail. I would have done EXACTLY what you did. To the letter. At some point our kids have to take responsibility for their actions and we have to step back and allow them to do that. Maybe she'll learn a lesson. Maybe not. If she doesn't, this will happen again and she'll see the results in her grades.
She is bright and hopefully this was a wake up call. It was best that you didn't allow her to take the day off to finish it; then she'll get the idea that if she procrastinates she'll get to do that every time. Maybe she was testing how far she could go with you and her teacher; now she knows what she can and can't get away with.
Email me if you want to chat more. I'm right there with you!

Hotch Potchery said...

That sick feeling you have when you know your kid has to own up to something when really, truly you want to swoop in and make it better? I have been. there.

The elder, never. She has always had her school shit together. The younger? OH brother, the yelling, cajoling, threatening, withholding, blah blah blah all through middle school. This lasted until just recently when he realized he was dicking around with his future ability to move.out.

The not doing school work, annoying and frustrating. But, the lying in my eyes is much more devastating. When something like this happens, I hate the tension in the house, the sick feeling that I have failed, and I just wonder how much else have I been lied to about and believed? I think back to before I knew about the failure and the blissful ignorance.

I think homework lockdown is a great idea until trust is regained, and believe me, it is not a parenting fail. It is part of being a parent to a TWEENER.

Oh, and the week of her big I would have gotten pissed and threatened to yank that (but never would have done it, and thusly ruined my credability more).

Good for you, hanging in! Oh, and my elder asked if she could come home for the weekend because her roommate is being "mean". good. grief.

creative kerfuffle said...

kay-kay--thanks. this is one thing i love about blogging, the reinforcement you get from friends : ) i think she's learned her lesson. and honestly? i don't think it was about testing the limits i just really think she didn't want to do it and kept putting it off.

hotch--yes, the lying and the dissolution of my ignorant bliss were gut wrenching (or wretching?). the last two nights were so tense and i just wanted to scream. i thought for 1/2 a second about cancelling her sleepover tomorrow night, but we just couldn't do that. thanks for listening!

broad minded said...

double ditto on you doing the right thing. and yeah i probably would have threaten to yank the party too although i dont' know if i could have gone through with it.

if it makes you feel better, i remember a term paper in high school, and while i had done it, i waited until the night before it was due to type it all up on my mom's commodore 64. yes i am old. i typed it, was ready to print and something happened and it was lost. just gone. i pitched a minor hissy fit and my now-insane mother, god bless her, stayed up and retyped it for me (i think on a type writer, but I don't remember). anyway, my fault for waiting until the last minute, although in my defense, that was a major computer malfunction involved too.

anyway. you done good. hopefully the girl will learn from this.

Astarte said...

No, you definitely can't let her stay home and finish it. She made her bed (or in this case, didn't make it), and now she has to lie in it. I think it's important to let them feel some of their own self-created suffering. Even if we suffer more than they do.

I agree that the lying is the worst thing. I am always *astounded* when one of the kids lies to me about something other than cleaning their rooms. It's hurtful, and stupid, and it lingers like nothing else.

Penny said...

OH man this toddler stage is hard, I don't want to hear it just gets harder...

Ack, that sounds stressful, I hope all is well and you guys can have a nice (long?) weekend!

Anonymous said...

My mom only let me skate by on something like this once. I was failing ART in 8th grade. I have no creative ability whatsoever, and my final project was a HUGE portion of suck, so I didn't want to turn it in. It was basically a recap of everything we learned...and one of those was box drawings...You know, where you put a grid on it and have to draw it box by box to look the same....She drew some of the stuff for me and then let me trace the exact one.

Other than that she left us alone to sink or swim on our own, and my sister and I are better people for it.

The other thing she always did for us was if we got punished at school there weren't any repercussions at home. It was embarrassing enough getting in trouble in front of your friends so she left us alone.

The Girl will learn from bet. Sorry it's been such a tough week!

creative kerfuffle said...

broad--i've done that before, said i'd take something away and then didn't and in the last few years i really have tried to become more consistent w/ the kids. wow, you had a computer in your house? i didn't even have a computer at college. i thought i was cool because i had an electric typewriter.

astarte--part of me says if we have to do this i'm glad it's now instead of later, in high school. and the lying thing really kills me the most.

tonie--i totally would have helped you w/ the art project. i heart art. and, depending on what happens at school we don't punish either. we've never had problems w/ the girl but w/ the boy? yeah. but sometimes he gets called out for little things and he doesn't get in trouble from us for those. but big stuff? yeah, he gets punished for.