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Along the lines of school issues...

Posted by lovehadley (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 4, 10 at 9:25

Would this annoy you? I find myself feeling really irritated with DH & SS and I am not sure it's necessarily SS's fault.

SS was with BM from Friday-Wed. We got him back yesterday after school and he will be with us until Monday. DH usually goes through SS's school papers around bedtime (8 pm, or so.) (SS does not have homework in 2nd grade, aside from 15 mins of daily reading and reviewing spelling words.)

There is a weekly report that comes home from the teacher on Fridays. DH and BM each have a folder with pertinent info. and the weekly report is in the folder.

So since BM picked SS up from school on Friday, yesterday was the first time DH had seen the weekly report from last week.

There was a note on it that said something about his focusing being a bit better last week and was he working on his musical instrument?

DH said "What is your musical instrument?" and SS said "oh yeah! I forgot. It's due Friday. I have to make one." I said that we could probably mak a shaker out of paper plates, and beads and SS said no, the instrument has to be made out of plastic materials.

WELL, this is the first either DH or I had heard about any of this. UGHHHH. Of course, at 8pm, it was too late to do anything about it, so today I guess I have to google and figure out what kind of instrument SS can make out of plastic and go buy the materials. I'm still thinking a shaker w/plastic plates?

WHATEVER. I am annoyed! So this morning SS was moaning around the house about how this HAS to be done tonight, and he must have told DH 3 or 4 times "don't forget to get my things, Dad, so i can make it."

AUUGHHH.

1.) I wanted to say to him, "hey guess what, buddy, it's NOT your dad who's going to handle this problem, it's me, so if you'd like the issue handled, then you need to speak to me about it...not whine to Dad and then give him the credit when your supplies magically appear." BUt does DH say any of this to SS? NO. So I should probably be annoyed with DH! And I am, don't get me wrong!

2.) I probably should be more annoyed with BM. IMO, this project at the very least should have been started with her, since he was with her for 5 days. OR a heads up to us from her would have been nice.

I am just at a loss here. I would be really upset with my DD if she neglected to tell me about a project until right before it was due...BUT in fairness to SS, DD is ALWAYS with me, so I am able to better stay on top of her assignments. It IS hard with SS being gone for long stretches. I mean, really, he wouldn't or couldn't have said anything to us about this project b/c he was with BM.

VENT!!!! Maybe this is just one of the perils of shared custody?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

Your last line hit the nail on the head. This is just one of the problems with (not just shared) 50/50 custody. As he grows older, there will be more things like this and maybe even more difficult problems.

DH will have to come up with a system of finding out these things. Here are some ideas:
-Maybe in his nightly talks with SS he could ask if he has any projects due soon.
-Or check the school's or teacher's website.
-Explain to the teacher what happened, acknowledge it's not the teacher's fault, but that he would like to avoid these problems in the future. Ask the teacher to e-mail him when a project is assigned.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

Good suggestions Ashley. Your situation sounds just like any typical Sunday nite with my kids. Im their BM. But its just kids. The minute the bell rings they forget school exists and homework. Only when they slow down at bedtime does the memory come back. LOL. Take a deep breath. Do the grunt work. Every mom has been there. When your not angry I would mention to DH that it would be nice if he participated and also reminded SS that YOU are doing the major part of this project, but your married and husbands sometimes take good wives for granted.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

ETA: DH just called me and he spoke with BM this morning to ask her what she knew about this project.

She claims she saw the note last Friday on her weekly report but "just assumed" it was something he was working on at school. He said then she started rambling about how it's so hard with the 2 year old and being 8 months pregnant, and she just can't keep track of everything.

I don't know. I can't relate to that, but still...SS has NO homework this year. His teacher doesn't believe in homework for 2nd grade. I look at what he does and what my DD does (2-3 pages a night, plus reading, plus 3 weekly "contract activities' that are due every Friday.In addition, she has a spelling test with 15 words every Friday AND she has Wordly Wise tests every couple weeks, plus math unit tests every few weeks, as well. Once a month, she has an Art Appreciation test, too.

And she effectively manages everything, with my gentle supervision. I worry about what is going to happen with SS when he gets to 3rd grade, or 4th grade,etc. as I am assuming the workload will then increase. If BM is struggling to keep up now, how is she going to handle things when she's got her toddler AND a baby?

And the problem is, with the shared custody, DH and I feel like we are only in the loop about assignments half the time. Obviously, given the current situation.

I realy feel like DH and I need to help SS become more self-sufficient and assertive. The bottom line--yes, BM should have dug deeper into the issue when she saw the note, but I also think SS had a responsbility to say something to his mom or dad regarding this assignment.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

It's definitely one of the perils of exchanging the child mid week! BM should have started the project with him and sent it on Wednesday if he got the report last week and it's due this week. At the very least, BM should have informed your DH sooner... heck she could have photocopied the report & mailed it. Then you guys would have had it beforehand.

LOL, I just read the rest of your post.... I had stopped at AUUGHHH.

But, the blame really starts with BM and SS should have said something sooner, especially if he talked to dad on the phone between the time he got the assignment and came on Wed. But, kids forget and deciding who to blame or be frustrated with isn't going to help get the project done on time. I guess a natural consequence to waiting until the last minute is that he isn't going to get a well thought out and planned end product. If you bust your behind to make sure he has something wonderful, he may just decide that it doesn't matter if he waits to tell you guys... you will fix it and he won't have a consequence. I tell SD that if she wants me to do anything for school, she has to tell me at least two days in advance as she was always waiting until bedtime the night before she needed things & expects me to run to the store & get it. Um NO. Projects? She has to tell me when it's assigned. If she waits until it's almost do and wants me to rush through crunch time, I won't do it. She recently had a play & asked DH (who then asked me) to get her a costume the day before the play. She had known about the play for over a month but said nothing to us about needing a costume. Of course, she had told her mom who neglected to care or tell us. Natural consequence? She had to choose something from the school box, which wasn't as nice as choosing something from the store.

and yes, SS should be told that he needs to talk to the person that is going to be doing the leg work. SD would go to DH for things and expect him to tell me to do it. DH started telling SD that she needs to talk to me about those things... like bringing cupcakes to her class. DH isn't gonna do it, he is working & he doesn't bake. Unfortunately, for the last year, she has chosen to do without rather than ask me for anything. But, the kids should not be able to circumvent talking to the person that is going to do the work. Just like BM should have to ask the SM to do her 'favors' that she knows dad isn't gonna do... of course, that's when RO are not involved.


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reply

"Every mom has been there"

I AM a mom and, honestly, I've NOT been there. This is not at all saying that it won't happen in the future, but I do expect my DD to keep track of her assignments and what is due when. And she does really well, but that's because I have coached her along the way, as has everyone at her school.

I completely recognize that SS is at a disadvantage with the 50-50 custody situation. It makes it really hard to stay on top of things. And, really, he's not had much to stay on top of.

I guess my frustration with kinda with everyone---DH, BM, and SS. I feel like I am ALWAYS the one playing clean up! These problems/issues get created and good ol' Love will come to the rescue or else look and feel like a witch!

For the record-I would be just as irriated with my DD if she had forgotten about an assignemtn and then surprised me with it at the last minute! Probably even MORE SO b/c I feel like she's been "better trained."

Good ideas, Ashley! DH tries to stay in touch with the teacher, regarding dup. papers being sent home, etc. The problem is, SS will empty his backpack at BM's, and then we don't see any of the fliers/paperwork. He will do the same thing at our house w/BM's papers, and we try to stay on top of it, but sometimes things get scattered.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

What works well for us is for DS to have an assignment book. Everything he needs to work on outside of school gets written into the assignment book, and in enough detail that I can figure out what kind of help he needs to get it done. When DS was little, his teachers wrote it in; now that he's older, it's his job.

Then every day, very first thing when he gets home from school, DS comes upstairs to my home office, tells me about his day, and we review his assignment book. Writing everything down in his assignment book and bringing it to me for 'review' are absolutely DS's responsibilities. We then discuss how much time he needs to plan for to get his work done, and I plan my own evening around his homework load. (Usually 30-90 minutes in 7th grade.)

Could an assignment book work for SS? It's a great organizing strategy overall -- one that easily 'grows with' the kid and workload. And if a kid has learning and/or organization issues, it's often one of the first strategies the school will implement.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

"Could an assignment book work for SS?"

YES. My own DD has had one since KINDERGARTEN. That is just what her school does. I always had one growing up, as well, and I guess I am kind of surprised that SS's school doesn't.

To me, an assignment notebook was ALWAYS par for the course and just a natural part of school.

We probably should start one for him independently, but the problem is, I am not sure SS would even remember at the end of the day. The other thing is, like I mentioned before, he doesn't have homework. This is the first project he's ever had. So I am not sure at this stage there would be much to put in the assignment notebook; still, I think he should get in the habit.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

LH I know it can be frustrating. But ss is only in 2nd grade and it is hard for him to remember important things for school. My 7th grade sd "forgot" about a competition last year with her whole school band. The day before competition the band teacher sends home a reminder note with directions to the competition. My sd hands it to me like we already knew about this. I asked her when she found out about it and at first she tried saying that day, and after calling her out on that she admitted for months. Because me and dh had a wedding to go to out of town that weekend and the kids were going to my dads house sd missed to competition. The band teacher was beyond ticked, but I told her I had no way to get sd to competition on such short notice.

DS has had projects or homework that he has "forgotton" about till bedtime! It is not frequent, but it happens.

If this is becoming a problem why not get ss an assignment book that has has daily pages as well as a monthly calendar in it for long term assignments. Set something up with the teacher where she will check his assignment book to make sure these things are getting written down. Then ss can always have it in his backpack for you guys and his bm to look at and think ahead about things.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

"I realy feel like DH and I need to help SS become more self-sufficient and assertive."

Yes...I totally agree with that. But you also need to remember he is just 7 years old. He doesn't have a sense of logic yet. To him, everything is in the moment. He is still pretty young and already has a lot of responsibilities just switching homes all the time.

Does he have planner he writes assignments in? Every year DS has been in school, he has been required to purchase a special planner from the schools. This teaches them to write things down. Maybe DH could get SS to read his planner to him every night. He might learn alot! DS has stuff in his like what novel his class is reading, what homework he has in each class and when picture days and parties are.

And please don't compare your DD to SS. All you will do is frustrate yourself. Girls are SO much different than boys, especially in the ways they learn. Girls are naturally more inclined towards learning and enjoying school. Boys are generally the opposite.

Plus, your DD has the benefit of living in one home. SS is required to move his entire life twice a week. That's a lot of responsibility for a little kid.

Really, I would just take this as a lesson learned for you and DH, an opportunity to make some adjustments (and a wake-up call), and maybe a teachable moment for SS, and then move on.


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ashley

"Yes...I totally agree with that. But you also need to remember he is just 7 years old. He doesn't have a sense of logic yet. To him, everything is in the moment. He is still pretty young and already has a lot of responsibilities just switching homes all the time."

I know. (Although he is going to be 8 in less than a month.)

I am trying to not "compare" but I just have to say...this is not the case with my DD. She handles A LOT, A LOT of academic responsbility, and has been able to handle it well. So I guess that is one reason I struggle with this issue, because I see DD doing things so capably (is that a word?) and I want SS to be able to do them, as well.

BUT:

A.) She has not had the difficulties that SS has with switching homes, an alcoholic parent, etc. I TRULY UNDERSTAND that SS's life experiences thus far have shaped him and I recognize that they are two different children and cannot be compared. And that SS has different needs/issues than DD.

HOWEVER...that, to me, means all the more that DH and I need to help him become self-sufficient. He IS at a disadvantage, so I think he needs more help and guidance right now.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

"For the record-I would be just as irriated with my DD if she had forgotten about an assignemtn and then surprised me with it at the last minute! Probably even MORE SO b/c I feel like she's been "better trained." "

That's exactly how I feel. DD only did it once, and the fallout was big enough that she never "surprised" me again. Her teacher came to the house to get an assignment slip signed because DD kept saying "I'm going on a field trip" and I kept saying "not without me signing the permission slip, where is it?" and her "forgetting". Funny. Because she never "forgets" other stuff (like, OH MY GOODNESS. She wants a battery for this one toy, and someone said I'll bet you can buy it at XYZ store... that we never go to... and EVERY time DD sees that store she remembers. EVERY TIME. It's a family joke now. I've told her I'm not spending $5 on a battery for this POS toy but it's in her brain like glue.)

Kids need to learn to be self-sufficient, IMO. And the younger the better.

So, vent away. To address your issue specifically:

"1.) I wanted to say to him, "hey guess what, buddy, it's NOT your dad who's going to handle this problem, it's me, so if you'd like the issue handled, then you need to speak to me about it...not whine to Dad and then give him the credit when your supplies magically appear." BUt does DH say any of this to SS? NO. So I should probably be annoyed with DH! And I am, don't get me wrong!"

Okkkkk... yep. This is a DH/BM issue, not really a SS issue, although he is a major player too. You are caught in the crossfire, expected to build the camp from twigs and leaves and dress the wounds. All with the rank of a grunt. I agree, DH needs to tell SS that he is unable to get his supplies at such short notice and he needs to address his school issue with you. Giving credit where credit is due, making the child acknowledge where their "stuff" is coming from, the labor involved and the time, is very important.

"2.) I probably should be more annoyed with BM. IMO, this project at the very least should have been started with her, since he was with her for 5 days. OR a heads up to us from her would have been nice. "

Communication. Perhaps in the future someone should contact BM prior to SS going to her house and say "by the way, SS has a project that he's doing/just completed, and this is what it's all about..." so that you set the stage for the next time SS comes to your house and you can ask "does SS have any pending assignments that he needs to have complete before he goes back to your house?"

That, and when SS walks in the door, asking to see his assignment list. When DD gets home I ask about homework, she goes to do it (they get a homework packet in the beginning of the week and have to do as many or as few as they want every night, so it has to be done by the end of the week but it's at your own daily pace. She decides one page or four, but I don't let her do the whole packet in one night. It's usually around 3 pages a night, English and Math, for five nights)

Then I check the homework, it goes back in her backpack, which goes on it's hook. Ready for the next day.


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using many analogies!!!

Great suggestion "communication" but this is a woman who over steps her bounds at every turn ... and has the new baby feature ... so its hard to communicate with a dry drunk ... if it were a "toy" for SS BM would have been driving by the house 15 times to drop it off calling DH to drop it off at his work put it in his car whatever... but because its school work its not important to her.

Yes SS is only 7 but because he goes back and forth between homes he knows he had to be ready to go there .... and not having the stuff he needs to go back and forth is a BM/DH responsibility not a SM problem I know easier said than done ... LH cannot contact BM so the day of his 5 day stint with mom LH should tell DH hey call SS and make sure he has every thing he needs to any projects due etc... and then the night before his 5 day stint with DH. DH needs to be reminded to call SS and tell him to gather up all he needs for the stay ...

SS has to become more responsible and since BM is other wise occupied : new baby feature, New family feature, trying to stay sober and conjuring up ways to annoy/harrass/ stalk/intimidate LH ... its on DH to to help him become more responsible.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

My only suggestion would be to simply let your DH handle it.

Yes I remember DS waiting til the last minute to turn stuff/projects in. I kind of thought it was a "boy" thing but I had no girls to compare with, so who knows?
But with all the history and problems with BM & DH not backing you on a lot of stuff I'd just save myself the hassle and let him know that is his/her issue to deal with & bow out. That way it's on them and more importantly you're not made out to be the baddie.

~Cat


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

I hate when schools assign projects that require extensive parental contribution. what about kids who have irresponsible parents, do kids have to suffer? I believe in assignments that children can do on their own. why does he need to make plastic instruments?

I think (and read a lot of research when I was considering custody arrangements) that 50/50 is not a good arrangement. Young child is stressed and has to remember way too much going between two houses. he can't remember which parent is supposed to do what, it is too much for him to navigate between mom and dad.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

cat, DD always waited til the last moment, she still does. so I think it is not only boys issue. but she was never assigned anything that required excessive parental supervision so she couldn't blame her parents.


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

FD, I don't even know what the assignment was for.

He did get a GREAT report on his Friday report this week. GREAT few days and his teacher said his plastic drum/shaker was an excellent 2-in-1 instrument.

STUFF IT, BM. SS's weekly report is CONSISTENTLY BETTER when he has spent 3 days at our house (Wed/Thurs/Fri.)

(sorry that was mean. but I had to say it. I HAVE to get some of this stuff out somewhere.)


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RE: Along the lines of school issues...

GRRR. When my DD was smaller, my joke was Sunday nights you could find me at Walmart (thankfully they are open late Sundays where I live).


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