It's my parental "dirty little secret", if you like. I'm sure I will be judged on this, but I was thinking about it and maybe I'm not alone…
In this day and age parents are expected to see the good in their child at all times. Along with not smacking and not yelling, we're also not supposed to project our expectations onto our children. We're supposed to celebrate them and focus on the stuff we really admire about them.
I do this. I really enjoy that I get along quite well with my kids, we have a very open and honest relationship and we actually 'hang out' a lot at home and talk about stuff. In many ways, my kids and their father and I have a lot in common in terms of interests, and while we may not have the same tastes exactly, there is openness to exploring the other person's taste on both sides. It really is great.
I admire my children's talent - they each have obvious talent in different areas and I really appreciate this.
But - there is a but.
I'm highly academic and particularly with regard to my older children, they have not reached a level of interest in academia that I have. I know, I struggled at their age as well, but for me it was because I wasn't challenged. For them, it seems they just don't care.
A friend of my\ine was very excited the other day because her child received an excellent report from high school. I totally get her excitement. I would have been just as excited had it been my child. Academic success is something I prize highly because I can relate to it. I don't think people who score well in education are 'better' people (neither does my friend), or even brighter people. Intelligence comes in many forms and I know my children have a variety of intelligences, they just aren't the academically measurable ones.
So, yesterday I cottoned on to the fact that every 6 weeks the high school provides a GPA assessment of my children's academic performance. It is rated from 4 (highest) to 0 (lowest) ranking. My kids received averages of 2.10 and 2.04 in the first round of assessments, and then 2.00 and 1.67 is the second round.
We also had parent-teacher meetings yesterday and it seems my kids are really just doing the bare minimum of requirements, and sometimes not even that.
I am so disappointed. I really am.
I know they are prioritising computer games and social media over study, despite my attempts to limit their access.
I also know, this kind of behaviour is very normal for kids their age.
I know, academic performance is not a good measure of a person's value.
I know I shouldn't be disappointed, that I should focus on the positives; they are happy and healthy, they have friends and enjoy going to school most of the time and they are talented in other areas.
But, I'm still disappointed.
I still feel like I'm somehow failing because I cannot impress upon them the opportunities they have at this high school - opportunities their father and I never had. I cannot manage to translate to them how rewarding study can be.
I'm afraid, too.
What if I'm not pushing hard enough? What if I push too hard?
I'm sending them both along to maths tutoring after school, next term - at the school (it's free, thank goodness). One child really just needs help because maths is not his 'thing' and so he isn't putting in enough work to keep up with his peers. The other one is, according to his teacher, 'intuitively brilliant' at maths, but relies too heavily on doing it all in his head and refuses to write out calculations in longhand so his teacher can see his methodology, she feels that he is struggling a bit because the maths he is doing now is more complex and really needs to be written out - I want him to dedicate this time, each week, to doing the paper work required so he gets used to it.
I've changed the home wifi password, in hopes they can only access wifi when I sign them in. Windows 8.1 is thwarting this somewhat because it doesn't allow the user to 'forget a network' easily. So I may yet have to lock the devices up - literally behind lock and key - to prevent the kids wasting time on it (especially overnight when one of them is prone to sneaking his devices back to his room to watch movies, instead of sleep).
I feel like I'm having to battle my kids, though. It feels bad. I want education to be enjoyable, but I also want them to take it seriously and utilise their opportunities.
So, there it is, my 'dirty little secret' of parenting. I feel disappointed in my children's academic progress.