helicopter high school

The Bee is three days into high school, and I’m already exhausted. Why does the start of the school year have to come right after I’ve spent August relaxing?

Two quick things this morning, but they’re linked, somehow, in my head.

The Bee is continuing to play field hockey, at least for this year. I don’t think she actually loves the game, but a couple of her friends asked her to do it, so they could have a freshman team (in addition to varsity & JV ones). The high school field hockey parents? are insane.

Both of our kids have played team sports. I’ve never experienced a team sport where the parents rotate who is going to make dinner for the kids on game nights. There are 42 girls playing field hockey. I am not running a restaurant kitchen!

Two days ago, one person sent out an email to the parents’ listserv asking for the college addresses of field hockey alumni, so the girls could write to her. (Landisdad, to me, privately–”what, they never heard of facebook? make a group!”)

In related news, I just read this article, from the Atlantic, about parents’ use of online grade systems in public schools.

We’ve had access to the Bee’s grades online since she went into middle school, and I confess, I can probably count on my fingers & toes the number of times I’ve logged into that thing. The Bee, however, is on it all the time.

Two nights ago at dinner, she and the Potato were complaining about various teachers, and he asked her why she didn’t like a particular science teacher that she had been complaining about. “Ms. W. doesn’t even know how to use Genesis! Last year, I was absent one day on a day she was absent too. She left a busy-work assignment with the sub, and she told me, when I came back to school, that I didn’t have to do it. And then she marked it as incomplete in Genesis! I told her 3 times to correct it, but she still didn’t, until I stood over her and made her do it!”

I can’t tell if envisioning the Bee nagging her teacher to change a grade made me more horrified, or more proud.

What I do know is that eventually, the Bee is going to go to college (and god help any professor who makes a mistake on her grades!)–and I’m not going to go with her. I certainly don’t question her competency at standing up for herself.

I’m not sure what’s behind the impulse to continue helicopter parenting into high school. I certainly don’t have it. Maybe it’s that sense that you’re about to lose them forever, and you just want to hang on while you can?

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September 7, 2013. growing up.

2 Comments

  1. Jody replied:

    From what I can see (and can start to feel, although I fight it hard), it’s mostly panic about the looming college application process. The closer our kids get to high school, the more you can feel the frenzy in the air.

    I would GUESS that the whole sports thing is either directly correlated (“extracurriculars! and good recs from the coaches/advisors!”) or it’s displacement (“I can’t actually control my kid’s grades but I can take all this nervous energy and cook for a bazillion people!”).

    I checked grades online a fair amount last year, just to know when I should be reminding/nagging my son to turn in those assignments that were due while he was sick. It was remarkable how much more I felt I needed to supervise him than my daughters. Also how much I second-guessed that: was it a reflection of his particular maturity level last year, or an unconscious set of assumptions I was making about boys?

  2. Jackie replied:

    I teach at an all-girls prep school, so please imagine me nodding furiously and biting my tongue at the same time–oh, the stories I could tell you! I think our generation of parents is used to and expects a high level of contact with our kids, and I think the inevitable college-related separation is going to be all the harder because of it. Whenever I hear parents describe their kids as their “best friends,” I want to shake them!

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