Welcome to Middle School

Middle school. Brings back a lot of memories. What I don’t remember is having so much homework that I didn’t have a time to experience life as a kid. I also didn’t start middle school until 7th grade where I grew up. My 10-year-old, fifth-grade daughter is in middle school. It’s going to push my stress levels to new heights, even though the doctor told me to minimize my stress. Ironic.

First I should explain that my daughter Virginia is attending an advanced school. Obviously there are many future benefits she can gain here, if she does well enough to get into the connecting high school. The high school is one of the top ranking high schools in the United States. Definitely worth the trouble…er, I mean effort. But I have to keep reminding myself of that.

At our orientation we were told that fifth graders could expect 45 minutes of homework every night. Boy did they lie. It’s more like two hours of homework. Add that to the unfortunate aspect Virginia’s commute to my office and then our drive home takes away two and a half hours that she could have had to complete this homework had she been at home during that time. Instead she starts her homework immediately when we get home around 5:30 pm. It usually takes Virginia almost until bedtime to complete it. Because I want her to have some physical activity, on nights she has gymnastics, she may not get her homework done until well past my “bedtime”. It’s draining me. It has to be draining her. We also learned she has a social studies project and a science project due every six weeks. Two of my most hated subjects when I was in school. But who else is going to help her with homework? Remember…in the end it will be worth it.

Then there are modern school rules at all the middle schools around here that I didn’t have to deal with in “my day”, such as wearing an ID card. If she doesn’t have her ID card, she gets demerits – negative points that could land her in detention. So imagine how stressful our morning was this morning when we got in the car, start heading down the road and discover she left it at home. So I had to turn around and head back home so she could run in the house and get it. It can’t be that simple. No, instead my child has to be the child that likes to carelessly get undressed throughout the evening at home and leave clothes strewn everywhere. After 10 minutes of searching, my intuition told me to look under the sofa. Why would I look there? That’s simple, because every pair of socks she wears miraculously ends up under the sofa as she takes them off when she does get a chance to watch TV. If her homework keeps her to busy to get any TV in that evening, then the socks end up under the kitchen table. Fortunately, we did find her ID card and managed to still get to school on time.

While waiting for the doors to the school to open, I thought I could finally relax a little. That was until I thought we would study for today’s science test, only for me to discover she wasn’t prepared. But why am I so stressed about it? I’m not the student!


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