Think Your School Days are Over? Think Again
As long as your kids are students, from JK through Grade 12, you’re right there with them
By Pam Dillon
So, you think, this is it. The party called summer is over. School is in full swing, thus it’s time to settle back into adulthood and let the kidlings get on with their jobs of being children. It’s up to them to climb on that yellow bus five days a week, fill their callow minds to the brim with useful knowledge, and diligently do their homework.
Wrong. Welcome, mom and dad, to your new school year. Way back in the children’s baby days or toddlerhood, you may have thought your education ended some years ago with the PhD, master’s degree, the completion of university or college or high school. (Hopefully not after three years of Grade 8.)
Now? There’s a realization creeping quietly through your nervous system, much like a shiver. Your own (somewhat) callow mind and state of blissful ignorance are gradually approaching the dawn of a new, irrefutable concept: It never really ends. As long as your kids are in school, you’re right there with them.
It’s a fact. Until some distant graduation, you’ll be making or helping to make lunches, signing agendas, checking homework, quizzing (when asked) test takers and attending parent-teacher interviews. That’s when you sit nervously across a wee desk from a) a bright young thing who looks old enough to be in Grade 11 or b) a wizened veteran who may have taught you (or your mother). You may find yourself volunteering and, if you’re an ultra-uber keener, climbing on the bus for school trips. Why not go to the swamp for science or to the ski hill to elevate your blood pressure? There’s nothing quite like being the on-hill group leader for a pack of fearless, non-skiing young boys who only want to do the jumps and black diamonds. It is a mind-expanding experience.
But you do have a lot to learn. If one of your children happens to have special needs, odds are you will be in the school immersion program – doing JK through Grade 12 for the second time around. Certainly, you will catch on eventually. Definitely, you will say, on more than one occasion, “What?! They didn’t teach this when I was in Grade (insert a number).”
Undoubtedly you will wrestle with your conscience a tad when helping with school projects. (Remember, please, it’s Junior or Missy’s project, not yours…. Ahem.)
At Mi Casa, more than a few school projects have become family affairs. In one case, several neighbourhood kids were enlisted to act in a homemade movie for science. There was also an English project with clues stuffed into fortune cookies, pyramids made from Styrofoam and sandpaper, a cell made of Jello, the Deacon Machine dog food dispenser, an elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption and a videotaped tragicomedy blockbuster for history in which the family dog burped rather loudly.
Oh yah. Who can forget the toga made from sheets for the thematic feast of grape juice and fish sticks? So educational.
But when your subconscious is kicking you in the ankle because you semi-hijacked your kid’s Grade 5 end-of-school project, odds are you won’t feel so bad when you deliver that same project to the classroom. (Obviously, some of the other parents will have hired architectural or engineering firms.) So you, dear parents, can sleep easily knowing a job… ah, your kid’s project has been well done.
In the end, it all must be good for the IQ (not to mention the makers of Advil). You may even come to understand something totally unexpected: this adult education can be a lot of fun.