Articles by "Shannon, Author at Quirks & Recreation - Page 5 of 29"
12 Sep
2016
Posted in: parenting
By    Comments Off on Dear Teachers: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Dear Teachers: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Teachers, I’m asking for some grace. We’re in our first full week of the new school year. We’ve done the back-to-school nights and signed all the papers. We’re almost in the groove, heavy emphasis on almost. Give me time to acclimate to the four varying schedules and demands of our children. Half our kids don’t have homework. The other half will, one far more than the other. There are reading logs to keep and behavior ladders to memorize.

When I send you an email or talk to you face-to-face concerning something you’ve already sent a letter home about, it’s not you, it’s me. I read all the papers our four children bring home. I’ve seen your note, or Remind, or email.  I’ve received the same piece of paper from our school district 12 times…four kids, three separate times. I still looked at it every single time even when they tried to trick me into believing it was new information presented on a different color of paper. I read a paper, dutifully put information on the calendar and file it away in my tidy accordion file setup specifically for school papers. Then the next child gives me a piece of paper and by the end of the evening, everything is a jumbled mess in my head.

girl sitting at school desk

There are 11 core subject teachers to get to know and eight more teachers on top of that. Some of the teachers are available before school, others after. Several use the Remind app. One group updates a website regularly. Some rely on old-school paper notes stuffed in folders. There are a few new apps I haven’t heard of before this year and homework schedules to decipher.

boy sitting at school desk

Then there’s Google Classroom which was taught to me by my children, so there’s probably some holes in my understanding. I’m fairly tech savvy, and it seems pretty straight forward, but educators teaching parents how to use the technology their kids education is shaped by might be a good idea. I’m just saying. I typed papers on a typewriter in high school. I didn’t have an email address until college and no cell phone until after college graduation. The public school system my children know is worlds different than the school of my youth. Each passing year adds something new to the technology landscape. Don’t get me started on the ridiculous amount of new policies implemented by the district, only adding to cloud my paperwork-cluttered mind.

brothers standing in front of a middle school

Teachers, I’ll get there. I will. The kids help, mostly. They know how to navigate the technology and are 80% of the time crystal clear on when things are due. I have an almost 14-year-old son, which means he pretty much has life figured out. This is the year we’re backing off and letting him take more control over organization and time management. We’re eight days into the year, and I can already tell you it’s going to be a long, stressful year with that one. I blame the hormones. I swear he’s been taught several different methods to organize assignments and keep track of due dates. Currently his favorite system is to keep everything in his head, which I think looks a lot like his haphazard room based on the results we’re getting.

Give me a little grace when I ask AGAIN what time lunch is because I keep telling myself to put it in my phone and can’t bring myself to pull the sheet out of the accordion file. I’ll offer grace when our last name is pronounced wrong, again, or the same email arrives four times in quick succession. We’ll fall into a rhythm. Fingers crossed it’s before the end of first quarter.

 


 
Free Pass to Adventure
By     |    Sep 7, 2016
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Free Pass to Adventure

Some of the best money we spend each year is the $80 used to purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. The pass gives us free access to over 2,000 federally managed recreation sites across the United States. This year we have a 4th grader who qualifies for a free pass through the Every Kid in a Park program. I’m always looking for ways to save money. This saves us $80 and allows for access... [Read More]

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Broken Bones and Mommy Guilt
By     |    Sep 1, 2016
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Broken Bones and Mommy Guilt

Confidence is fleeting in my parenting game. One day I think we’ve got this. The next, Craig and I are looking at each other wondering what we’re supposed to do. This morning I had no clue what to do when a child potentially breaks bones. By this evening, I had it figured out. Almost 14 years into parenting and we had yet to have any child break a bone. The simple act of running ruined that record. Our first-grader was... [Read More]

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Tailoring Parenting to My Audience
By     |    Aug 28, 2016
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Tailoring Parenting to My Audience

Our second oldest son and I were driving to his 6th grade orientation last week. His brothers and sister weren’t with us. This was the perfect time to talk one-on-one about heading to middle school. I over-think and prepare for situations. I was going to begin with talking about responsibility before moving into the importance of kindness and bravery before wrapping up with a shortened version of previous talks on drugs, alcohol and sex. I’d given this talk to his... [Read More]

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No Rose-Colored Glasses for Me
By     |    Aug 18, 2016
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No Rose-Colored Glasses for Me

She told me I was overly sappy. She accused me of looking at parenting through rose-colored glasses. I was told I was crazy for not wanting my kids to head back to school. I’ll admit to being a sap. It’s taken me years to embrace the fact that I’m an emotional person. I have all the feelings all of the time. I’m passionate and a little emotionally volatile. I feel my way through life, and no longer make apologies for... [Read More]

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For the Love of Olympics
By     |    Aug 11, 2016
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For the Love of Olympics

Barcelona 1992. That was when my passion for all things Summer Olympics began. I watched everything I could in those pre-Internet days and stood in the grocery store reading magazine article after magazine article devouring every athlete profile tidbit I could. Gail Devers, Jennifer Capriati, Derek Redman and the basketball Dream Team were brought up in conversation as if they were friends of the family. Not much has changed in 22 years. My passion for the Olympics runs deep, and... [Read More]

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Wandering Through the Summer
By     |    Aug 2, 2016
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Wandering Through the Summer

We’ve spent our summer doing what we do best: wandering. I play the part of responsible adult most of the year, attending meetings, turning work in on time, volunteering, and running kids hither and thither. Summer is for following my gypsy heart. I long for deserted roads stretching to the horizon and open vistas from the mountain tops. I pour over the road atlas and maps looking for the next place to visit. I’m sidetracked by road signs. I constantly... [Read More]

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Learn Something New: Adult Ballet
By     |    Jul 7, 2016
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Learn Something New: Adult Ballet

Each year I make a short list of books to read, places to visit and a new thing to learn. I manage to finish the book list and cross off places we visited. Then there’s the thing to learn. For three years, the new thing has remained the same: take a ballet class. It sits at the bottom of the list with me making no attempts to make it a reality. The excuses piled up. I’m almost 40, surely too... [Read More]

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Parenting the Littles
By     |    Jun 24, 2016
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Parenting the Littles

Something has been missing all week. Someone actually…two someones. Our oldest two sons have been at summer camp this week which is the first time half of the children have been away at the same time. It’s been interesting to see our third son step into the role of oldest for the week. He’s been extremely helpful and attentive to his sister. He’s enjoyed being the leader instead of the one who tags along with whatever his older siblings want... [Read More]

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Travel Wyoming, Collect Free Stickers
By     |    Jun 14, 2016
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Travel Wyoming, Collect Free Stickers

I had a sweet sticker book when I was in elementary school. I collected stickers and carefully placed them in the book, sort of like a sports card collection, but with smelly and puffy stickers. Three summers ago, when we realized the Wyoming Office of Tourism had a free souvenir sticker program available to travelers, I knew we’d have to collect them all. The stickers have a vintage look with muted earth-tone colors and artwork themed for an area in... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Dinosaur National Monument
By     |    Jun 13, 2016
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Take a Trip: Dinosaur National Monument

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. I have a box of plastic dinosaur figures in various sizes in our basement. Each of the boys went through a dinosaur-loving phase during their toddler years. While they no longer play with the dinosaur figures, they remain intrigued by fossils. The love of fossils comes from... [Read More]

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Mama, They See You
By     |    Jun 6, 2016
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Mama, They See You

I’ll be limping across the finish line this week on the last day of school wrung-out and emotionally drained. Our 5th grader has had A YEAR. I cannot tell you anything specific academically he learned because academics took a backseat this year to some serious life lessons. There have been difficulties in the classroom with another student. There have been laws to study and bureaucracy to wade through. There have been meetings and emails…so many meetings and emails. We seriously... [Read More]

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