Friday, October 22, 2010

Work in Progress

As a teacher and a parent I've always struggled with trying to help students gain organizational and time management skills. If you've found yourself faced with this at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night - "Mom, I need three different colors of posterboard, 100 multi-colored push pins and duct tape (who is he, MacGiver?)- like now. My project's due tomorrow!"

They waited until the last minute - again. Now you're wondering if there is a 24-hour Walgreen's open somewhere within the greater metropolitan area and you're just too tired to move. Part of you whispers in your ear "Let him fail. Then maybe he'll learn his lesson!" and the other part of you says "Good moms don't let their kids fail."

It's a matter of accountability. Whose responsibility is it to complete the project? Who is getting the grade?

I know it sounds simpler than it really is - believe me. I've had my share of late nights and panicked morning rides to school with my sons. I get tired of always being the one who is aware of what my kid needs to get done - when they don't seem to have a clue. I already did 7th grade - why should I do it again?

Take a look at this online exchange from some real students in 7th grade - gifted students by the way. Their names have been changed, but the spirit of the conversation is accurate. They know when things are due. Don't let them fool you.

They are talking about a huge assignment that is due the next morning:

Ellie I just finished Mr. Meeko’s flippin essay, like 640 words :/ hating this project right now
Cathy Haha I didn't even start it :/
Ellie woooooww , theres a shockk (;
Lisa todd hasnt even started too
Ellie wooow (;
Lisa i fished mine like an hour ago r we suppose to have a biblio
Ellie yeah , that's the websites right ?
Lisa i didnt do that'
Cathy Yeah it is
Ellie  in alphebetical order .
Lisa  im doing it on the final copy 
Our children, just like our projects, are all a work in progress. They all need to be held accountable. One of the best things you can do is help your child keep track of his own progress. I am beginning a 60 page dissertation proposal. I am on my own for this. I need to find a way to keep track of my own progress and hold myself accountable. Every Wednesday I will post my "work in progress" so far. There will also be a word count meter on this blog that I will try to  update daily. I hope when I'm done we can celebrate! Find ways to do that for your kids. It makes the difference. Just don't do it for them.