A Summer of School

I know this sounds bad but I absolutely hate, hate, hate waking my kids up in the morning to go to school. Not because I don’t value a good education, but because we are just not morning people. They’re grumpy, I’m grumpier. My son, Alex, is fifteen in his first year of high school and has to be there at seven in the morning as if he’s working a first shift job. Alarm clock blasting, but he doesn’t hear it, so I have to drag him out of the bed every morning. My daughter, Brittany, who is eight is the grouchiest being on earth at 7 A.M. other than myself. Not only is she like a dead weight that doesn’t budge no matter how much you push, tap, and roll her, she’s also on the top bunk! So I get my coffee going, grab a chair, and put a cold, wet, washcloth on her face. It’s the only thing that works. Once she’s up, she moves at the pace of a snail. And she hates, hates, hates to brush her teeth. I keep my eyes on the prize. She’ll be gone in an hour and then I can enjoy my coffee. While all this is going on, I have two cats following me around yelling about their breakfast and a husband who sleeps soundly through it all. I would like to sleep in too, you know! TGIF, you say? Ha! Not for me! Thursday through Sunday I go to work. Not a sleep in day in sight.

That’s why I love the summertime. I get to sleep in a few days of the week. Go on vacation. Relax a little. I look forward to this. So you can imagine my disappointment when my Alex’s final report card came stating that he didn’t make it to the ninth grade and in order for him to do so, he’d have to go to summer school. Crud! At first, I said he was just going to have to stay back this year. No, not because I really, really wanted to sleep in! But because this wasn’t the first time he was required to go to summer school. Every year he passes to the next grade by the skin of his teeth. The transition from junior high to high school was just one I didn’t feel he was prepared to make at the time. He really struggled in his eighth grade year. He was crushed.

I changed my mind. Okay, we’d done this before. One more time won’t hurt. We’ll go down to the board of education and get him signed up for summer classes. Pay the $75 and get it done. Gasp! What’s this pamphlet say that came with the report card? Does it really say our school district is not offering summer school this year?! Yes it did!

The nearest school district that offered summer classes really wasn’t near. It was almost an hour drive there and back, no bus service, five days a week. Classes were priced at $200 per course. Alex needed two courses, Math and American History. But it conflicted with our work schedules. Couldn’t do that one. We then found a school that offered partial class attendance and the rest would be online. Students were required to be in attendance at the school the first three days of a course’s beginning. Monday through Wednesday when I was off work. Perfect! After that, assignments could be completed online, with the exception of tests which also required that the student be in attendance at the school. Classes were priced at $250 per course. A little higher than the other school but far exceeded in convenience. And we would save on gas! We first checked with our school district to see if they would accept instructional credits from this school and they did. The coordinators advised us that the Math course was already filled so we signed him up for American History for the first session. He would take the math course in the second session.

Alex did really well in his studies. He attended the first Monday through Wednesday of the course and got acquainted with his instructors. They were really nice and encouraging. They ensured him that if he needed help while at home feel free to shoot them an e-mail or come down to the school for help with assignments. We definitely took advantage of that. So even though he was not required to be there, we spent many of my off days at the school. Assignments were due by 1 P.M., Monday through Friday. So while we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, the whole family contributed in making sure he was at least up by 9 A.M. to complete his work. He took one course at a time; one in June and one in July.

For the most part, Alex seemed to keep himself motivated. He would hit a few bumps in the road and points where he would just burn out. But we would just continue to encourage him further and point out that there was not too much longer to go. I wanted to offer some type of reward but decided against it. I wanted him to know that while I understand, I was still disappointed, and not very happy about forking out $500 that could have been used towards our vacation or our savings. We told him that summer school is not an option for the next school year so he needs to keep that in mind and get his behind in gear!

Although us parents may dread summer school, it’s important to get them enrolled as soon as possible if you intend on your child attending. I found out that popular classes fill up fast, just like college! A Monday through Friday summer school is great, if it is free or of low cost, in your school district, and if there’s bus service. But if not, explore your options. You may luck up and find a school that requires partial attendance and online classes like we did. Call around to different school districts and see what they offer. Compare prices. Before enrolling, make sure the credits are accepted in your school district. Also, there are some summer school programs that are offered exclusively online only, but again, check and make sure your school district will accept the credits. Encourage! Encourage! Encourage! But do not totally hide your disapproval so that your child will know that you understand but that this is not okay. In the end, Alex passed both his Math and American History courses with B’s and is currently finishing up his freshman year of high school. And this summer, I can sleep in!