Todd’s Take: Open Letter to Parents With Kids Struggling in School
Closing in on a year since the world, as we all once knew it, got flipped upside down because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has become abundantly obvious to many parents that their children are genuinely struggling by virtue of being forced to stay home.
My son is one of them.
Heading into his Sophomore year of high school in the East Valley school district, my recently-turned 16-year-old son, Drew, was carrying a 3.5+ Grade Point Average (GPA) and had never received a mark lower than a "B" in any course. Having just finished the first semester of the 2020-21 school year with "distanced learning" in full effect, the results, thus far, have not been nearly as pretty.
My wife and I are of the opinion, when it comes to raising our child together, that we trust him implicitly until he gives us a reason NOT to. Because he has, historically, always been a self-motivated, a self-starter and a, relatively, successful student, we have not had to look over his shoulder to make sure that his studies are up to snuff.
That has, now, all changed, unfortunately.
Although we do ask him how it is going on a daily basis and ask him about his day and what he is up to, we had to come to the stark, shocking realization that that wasn't enough during this pandemic.
Because we both work during the day, Drew has been left home unattended -- like many, many other kids -- and has struggled to stay focused on his homework, etc.
How can we blame him, necessarily?
He has a school-issued Chromebook in his room but he, too, now has a smart phone to distract him. While not a huge gamer, that is also available to grab his attention. Because he is an aspiring musician, his guitar collection is usually the first go-to when schoolwork becomes less appealing. Not to mention the usual societal trrappings that all teenagers had and have (driving, the opposite sex, peer pressure, etc.)
While we are very disappointed in him AND ourselves, we can only try to stem the tide and make the necessary correction. We do not blame the teachers, the governor, the school system or the president. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to hold our child accountable. No matter what.
If your child has had a rough time in school this past year, I'd love to hear from you and compare notes and support one another.
Thanks for reading and rock on! \m/ \m/
Todd E. Lyons, Esquire