Thursday, September 17, 2015

School of Hard Knocks

Ben and Alex have dived in head first to their new school-- St Rita's Catholic School in Dallas. We've been so pleased with how nice all the other families are and how welcoming they have all been. The other kids seem to be very nice and we're seeing the boys looking forward to socializing with them. The only hiccup is slowly getting the boys acclimated to the rigorous academic standards St Rita's has. Sometimes we hear them say "this is too hard!!!" during their 2 hours of daily homework each night. But we keep telling them "there's a huge difference between something being so hard that you don't understand it versus the other type of hard--- hard work." 

St Rita's is not hard as in "over their heads" hard, it's just more work than they've ever been exposed to and we couldn't be happier. The sooner a kid learns to bust his butt, the better chance he has of taking that into adulthood. Neither Chris nor I get any nights off, he does spelling and vocabulary during the commute and math at home, and I help them with English composition and social studies. Then between the two of us we help them with science, religion and chauffeuring them back and forth between all their sports practices. It's a daily marathon but it's good for all of us to stay busy and engaged with their activities.  Dori just laughs and sings the day away while we're running around.  Spending time with him is a nice respite from all the busy stuff with the older boys. Here are a couple of pictures of the boys' sports teams. 
Here are the St Rita's Spartan 6th Grade football team. Chris was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon getting to know a lot of the other team dads at the St Rita's golf tournament, he had a blast! 
Here is The Galaxy Soccer Team ... Don't let the lack of enthusiasm on their faces fool you. 
Here's a picture of my wingman Dori. 

The hardest part of being a parent is to be a consistent parent. With all the new homework and getting to know the new school regulations, the boys have "forgotten" to hand in homework and "forgotten" to do stuff that counts towards their grades. After many repeated reminders, many "you need to be more accountable for your work" discussions and lots of fruitless yelling, we had to make FINAL warnings. In sum, we told the boys if they didn't take care of business with their school work this week, they would not be allowed to go to the Husker game in Miami. They had all the resources at their disposal to get all their school work done on time, they should have known exactly when to hand it in (we have a friggin app that details what their homework is on a daily basis) and they were given ample warning. Sadly, both boys failed to hand in some of their assignments, complete their homework as instructed, and both had a laundry list of excuses as to why.  As a parent it's hard to have to crack down the hammer but once you threaten to launch it, you HAVE to or else you lose all credibility. So yesterday we informed the boys that because of their multiple transgressions and repeated warnings, and the help they had been provided both at HOME and at SCHOOL to avoid those transgressions, they still jacked it all up. Therefore, we had to cancel our family trip to Miami to watch the Huskers this weekend play again The U. There was lots of bawling, lots of snot running and lots of "I didn't know!!!??!!!".  Luckily Chris was able to get his two besties from Nebraska (Spud and Fish) to drive down through the night to join him today on his flight to Miami. So what am I doing this weekend? I am NOT in Miami with Chris, Ben and Alex. Ben, Alex and I will be getting our academic stuff organized, getting a jump ahead on next weeks' assignments, etc. Hopefully this hard lesson will remind them that we mean what we say and that consequences aren't just empty words, they are real. 

So if you see me this weekend and I'm not all "smiles", it's because I'm supposed to be in Miami, not at Walmart buying diapers or the grocery store buying milk, or in my kitchen drilling vocabulary words to my boys.  This too shall pass 💗

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