As some of you may already know, I stopped homeschooling this year. There are some really great things about it, some not so great, but I’ll have to fill you in on another post. If you haven’t subscribed already, go ahead and do that. I’ll wait.
It is report card time, but get this, you can see your kids’ grades in real-time now. To say that it is a lot to manage is an understatement. My kids are pretty computer savvy, so they can check their grades on their own, and I set up alerts to only let me know when the grades fall below a certain threshold. But, having that sort of access? For a Caribbean mother, that can be a lot to handle… for me. I don’t have the old school luxury looming specter of report cards being mailed to keep my kids on the right track.
Related Reading: Caribbean Parenting Amongst the Weeds
I have a middle schooler and a high schooler, so they have different times for teacher conferences. The high schooler has already done his conference and is working on what he needs to work on. The middle schooler has hers this week. She checks her grades first – like her mom, she’s not really into surprises. She is happy. Me, being me, I call out to the high schooler… “what about YOUR grades?” Of course, he doesn’t have a clue what his average is. He pulls it up.
All is as expected, and he has reached some personal goals. All of this is good news. He saved the best for last. “…AND in photography, I have a 99.96!”
The American mom in me was about to float away, I was so proud. If you don’t know already, my high schooler is an amazing photographer. You can see his past work from his homeschool photography class (taught by yours truly) on his Instagram @shotindc. Clearly he is continuing to kill the game in brick and mortar school.
But that small, still, Caribbean mom voice in the back of my mind said, “Eh eh. wappen to di .04%?” I laughed at myself, to myself. Because I HONESTLY wanted to know. Then suddenly, I laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of that question, and the high schooler asks, “What’s so funny?” So I said it. “AAAAAAAAAND the four hundredths of a percent? Where did THAT go?” He laughed. He ran to tell his dad what I said, and then we all laughed.
But all jokes aside, that is part of the reality of how I grew up. My mom played gospel music every now and then, and one of the songs that always bothered me a bit went like this…
Lord I’m runnin’, tryin’ to make a hundred,Originally written by gospel legend Dorothy Love Coates
ninety-nine and a half won’t do.
While physical discipline was part of how my parents grew up, and briefly part of how I grew up, I always wanted to do better with my kids, or at least do something different. Working out that mental part has proven to be the most difficult. I want my kids to be great at whatever they do, but not because I want them to be amazing, but because THEY want to be amazing.
Is there a part of me that knows deep down that my kids are capable of better? Yes. However, I don’t want to frighten or shame my kids into greatness. I mean, what is greatness anyway? A percentage on a screen? Whose version of greatness should they try to achieve? Mine? The school’s? The family’s? Their peers’? I want to figure out what greatness looks like to my kids, and help them get there. I won’t always get it right. But when it comes to parenting… shoot… 99 and a half is pretty darn good, don’t you think?
I talked about Modern Caribbean Parenting with the ladies of the Rant and Rave Podcast. We talked about corporal punishment and online shaming in the Caribbean community. Check it out, and leave a comment!