Up to now, re-parenting has been like being washed ashore on a remote island in the middle of the ocean. Suddenly a ship appears and delivers all the tools needed to put down stakes in the new location. The problem is not that I am without the equipment, but that I have no earthly idea what to do with it?? I was just thinking that it was getting easier because she is much more independent and is in school for five days a week, but that was before the avalanche of information from her new school hit me! When I sent my two now grown children to school, i would occasionally receive a note requesting input of some sort or a signature here or there. It was a trickle of communicaiton linking the school to home and now it is a wave. On a weekly basis, there will be at least five e-mails from the teacher outlining the lessons of the week, requesting support for the skills, beckoning us to look at recent photos, thanking us for collaboration, or calling our attention to an upcoming event. Websites are recommended for all the lessons and enthusiastically promoted to enhance the classroom experience. A newsletter is sent to recap the same information in hard copy and reams of paper fill the daily folder of the written work for that day. There is also the daily calendar which displays her behavior for the day that must be initialed and a homework sheet that requires an additional initial once the activities are completed. General school procedures, or district events are announced through a district e-mail, a school wide principal phone call or a hard copy sent home. Most of the time it is all three. The reading log is to write the names of the books read to "S' or that she might read to me. Books from the library must be turned in on one day and the ones from the classroom on another. The recent fundraiser required the sale of food items, the names of the buyers, the checks from the buyers and a packet that provided the choices, the log for names and an envelope for the checks. Last week a note was sent home to describe a food drive that the school promotes in hope that it would be supported by the parents. A card is required to pick "S' up each day and a badge must be acquired to enter the school. My afternoons are filled with the shuffle of paper from counter to table, back to the folder. to be displayed on the refigerator or to the trash. My brain is a total muddle of information overload! Obviously I was in a comatose state when the school-parent revolution began, but I am undoubtfully left with the ashes. This is a direct result from the outcry of parents for more communication and accountability from teachers, administrators and districts. The number of frivolous lawsuits that have flooded the educational courts for better service and more tranparency has spawned a barrage of paperwork and computer chit chat that is overkill at best. If I do not review each note and e-mail than I appear as the disinterested or uninvolved parent so I push on. But what I want the school and "S's' teacher to know is that I trust you to do your job well and to teach my child to the best of your ability. I do not need to know each time you dot your i or cross a t. I am happily sharing my most precious asset with you, as an equal partner, but I will need a stipend for a secretary if this keeps up!
Garden Ridge, Texas