I think we all forgot what it was like when 2/3 of us are back in school and Alan works full-time. Now that Gage is in middle school and is mainstreaming, there is more homework to be done. Getting it done on time means something different than it did before. We are all working on getting our schedules figured out and making sure that our needs are being met.
Co-parenting a middle school student is a bit more challenging too. They want more freedom, but there are also more responsibilities, both personally and academically. At Chateau du Mongoose we are trying to teach Gage how to manage multiple responsibilities and prioritization, both of which are challenging for adults to do, let alone an eleven year old. As I arrived home from class last night at 9:30pm and watched Gage and Alan put the final touches on his first big social studies project due this morning, I felt a mixture of pride and frustration. I was proud that with little struggle, Gage was getting the project done. He had spent the better part of his time, since arriving at our home around 6:30p, crafting all the pieces, writing up the notes and decorating the box. Gage is a great artist and enjoys doing crafts, so this project was more fun than work.
However, I was also frustrated. I was frustrated that he hadn't told us about the project when it was assigned three weeks ago and that we had to learn about it at Back to School night. I was frustrated that he was supposed to have been working on this project for the last three weeks and for the last two weeks, when ever we asked about it he said he was working on it at his mom's. I was frustrated that it was like pulling teeth last week when Alan sat down with him and tried to get him to work on the project. Lastly, I was frustrated when he arrived back at our house yesterday with only one craft done.
These are the years in which we are laying the ground work for how he will be as a student during the rest of middle school, high school and hopefully college. Having a few college degrees under my belt, I know how hard it is to stay on top of projects and how miserable it is to have to stay up all night to finish something I had all term to complete. I wish I would have learned how to plan my time better. I wish I would have learned that doing it incrementally would save me tons of stress and frustration. I don't want Gage to fall into these bad habits.
I know it's only the first project and I probably shouldn't stress it, but I really want to see Gage be successful. It's our job as his parents to make sure that he learns how to do this. We have to lead by example, by sitting with him to make sure he's working on it, and by checking in with each other to make sure we are all on the same page in supporting him. We are all learning this year.