September 28, 2017
“I don’t have any homework this weekend.” These words echo off the walls of our home on a regular basis. My response remains constant. “That’s weird. I would have thought you would have done SOMETHING in class this week. Huh.” Our youngest follows in my footsteps academically. Yet, his carefree spirit mirrors my husband. The combination is, without a doubt, the most aggravating part of parenting for me. Academics come naturally to him. He maintains A’s with little to no effort. I wait patiently, ok, impatiently for things to change. And change they will.
When Hunter closes his eyes, he sees pages of textbooks. He finds answers to questions for which he did not study. He regurgitates lectures verbatim. I realized I was in trouble when Maddy was in 2nd grade. Hunter, barely 3 years old, picked up Maddy’s math worksheet and silently completed it. In elementary school, he finished his work first and roamed the classroom “helping” others. The teachers and I searched to find work that challenged him.
By the end of sixth grade, Hunter discovered he excelled in athletics. If he played it, he succeeded at it. The more he participated in sports, the less he focused on school. But even without focus, he maintained B’s and C’s. Reflect on my writings of last week. While Maddy slaved away, spending hours on school work, Hunter did everything but school work. Simply put, he did not manage his gifts well, nor was he a good steward of his abilities. My husband and I engaged the help of coaches. If he didn’t study for tests, he ran poles at baseball. If he didn’t put effort into homework, he ran with me. We tried everything.
A baseball coach suggested that the three of us read, The Life You Imagine by Derek Jeter. It changed everything for us. Derek Jeter’s father created a contract that he had to follow. Clearly, it worked. So, together, the three of us wrote a contract. In order to pursue his dreams, we require Hunter to maintain a 3.8 cumulative GPA. The epic battles ceased.
The phrase, “I don’t have any homework” still often falls freely from Hunter’s lips. When I hear it, I refrain from a response and cringe. Monday night at 11:30, I found my son still working on homework. Oddly enough, I found him studying for his AP Anatomy test. I started to inquire. Without looking at me, he held up our contract and continued to work. I closed the door and went to bed. I just refreshed the Infinite Campus app. Once again, his intellect saved him. But the greatest reward, we avoided conflict, nagging, and frustration. When he fails to follow our contract, he takes ownership, makes adjustments, and determines which agreed upon consequence he will select. In case you are wondering, our the backyard looks AMAZING!
I caution parents of academic powerhouses. If your student avoids studying but still enjoys high marks, please understand in college this will end. It may end in high school if your student enrolls in AP classes. I’m well acquainted with a middle school principal that graduated high school with a cumulative GPA of 4.2. Ironically, her second quarter at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, she received a letter from the Dean of Academics. Something about shaping up or shipping out. The details are a bit fuzzy.
Honored to Serve You All,
Food for Thought: At Corona Middle School There Are NO Cellphones at Lunch Perish the thought! We added another tech-free day during our lunch period. We started to realize students are using phones on the other days less and less.