Monday, March 14, 2011

By This Time Next Year...or better

Usually by the end of the school year, I get my act together.  Just in time to enjoy 2 1/2 months off and then we start the attempt to figure out organization, life with four children, and the school year all over again.

A few weeks ago, Mr T lost out on a very important opportunity.  Apparently, his gifted resource teacher sent home a note indicating that T needed to be at school early on the morning of the 15th if he wanted to be considered for a city-wide math tournament (math is his thang, people).  I found the note on the 28th.   Crumpled.  At the bottom of his backpack.  With stars all over it.  To remind him to give it to me.  The contest was scheduled for March 2nd.  I emailed his resource teacher and said, "Hey, I know it's a great object lesson in organizational skills if he can't, but is there any chance he could still participate?"  She responded, "No, no.  You're right it's a great object lesson in organizational skills.  And no he cannot."

I was livid.

A little at her.  A little at him.  A little at me.  And a lot all around.

Fast forward a few weeks...We do things differently around here now.  {Just in time for a 10-day break for (apparently *snow*) spring.}  Every day after school, the kids line their backpacks up at my feet.  The first kid shows up and we empty out the backpack together.  I sign all the necessary folders and file all the papers and give them a dollar for Hat Day and we zip the backpack closed and that kid hangs his/her backpack up in their cubby in the garage.  I do this for all four kids.  Immediately after school.  Every day.

On Sunday nights, I sit down with the kids with three sheets of blank paper.  Each (big) child is responsible for making a 5-day checklist of the things he/she has to do before and after school and before bedtime for each day of the week.  So, for example, if your library day is Wednesday, you're going to write on your Tuesday night list, "Find library books."  Or if you have basketball practice Thursday night, Thursday after school will read: "Lay out basketball clothes."  Likewise, if Mom and Dad have shelled out a few hundred dollars for you to play violin, there is a spot every day for "Violin Practice."

The change has been remarkable.  Astounding.  Amazingly Awesome!  Just in time for (apparently *Snow*) Spring Break.  But nevertheless, papers are turned in on time.  Kids aren't calling from the office to ask me to bring up their library books.  Or their hat.  Or their dollar and their hat.

We're trying to raise mature, independent, responsible members of society.  Too bad it took losing out on an important math tournament to remind me.
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