Friday, July 15, 2016

Raising Einstein

I always thought I would have very intelligent kids. Not just making good grades at school, but you know those kids who read without being told, do their homework (by themselves, no incentives) and that kind of stuff :).

Some people think its an environmental thing but I disagree. I was not raised in such a household but I was such a kid. My husband is pretty much the same. His parents did not even bother enrolling their kids in school to avoid paying school fees until one day, he sneaked out with his friend and went to school with him. The baby sitter was out of her mind with worry knowing that people would accuse her of kidnapping the child and after looking everywhere and crying up and down the street, she saw him arrive with his friend (lucky her that back then schools closed at 1pm). In case you are wondering why the teacher did not ask, honestly, Naija was a different place back then. Even in the eighties, we used to occasionally bring our two year old sister to school in uniform even though she was not enrolled. Teachers never minded. Anyhow, the traumatized woman made it clear that she could not look after him and then his parents were forced to put him in school.

My kids are so lazy that it scares me. Yeah they both read early effortlessly sef because I was more focused on one's speech and the other's multiple issues, I did not have the time to teach them. They are intelligent and fast learners, but lazy. For example, older kid can read "above his grade level" (I would never say it out loud but, we held him back a year and since public schools only "practice" with kids what they already know, that means nothing. The boy will be starting 2nd grade in September when he really should be going in to third grade. So therefore, above grade level for him at the end of 1st grade should be 3rd grade na. But no, his teacher proudly tells me he is at 2nd grade level in reading and expects me to start doing cartwheels. His Math took lots of blood and he barely got any of the concepts. He can do the work but he cannot explain anything. Younger child also reads a grade above his next years' class of 1st grade and same thing applies. Besides, I listen to both of them read daily and am appalled at the low expectations these people have for my children. Is it because we are immigrants?!?!

Hubby and I also have different philosophies when it comes to raising children. I believe in nurturing your kids and making good decisions for them regarding their home life and education. This helps ingrain in them purpose and discipline. I always wanted a job that would see me home at five, so I can make dinner (hubby does not like to eat out), do home work with the kids, talk to them, fix bad habits before they get worse, etc. My husband tends to think that they will just wake up one day, with good habits, studious and driven to succeed. His "vision" is for us both to work our buts off and amass millions for us and trust funds for the kids and their future education. While its doable his way, he refuses to pay for a tutor for our intelligent but lazy and unmotivated kids. I advocate for a tutor (aka lesson teacher) because, we were both always at work and even when he is off, his interaction with the kids is limited to them fetching and carrying.

I am naturally hands on and can do it myself but if I have to make the kind of money he wants "us" to make I cannot work as many hours, clean house (did I mention that he does not want a maid, and refuses to do anything, and now thinks the kids are old enough to do it all), teach kids, play with them, practice speech with one and socialize them both without breaking down. Coupled with him giving speeches  about how he will disown any child that "does not want to go to school" (so he can have an escuse to keep the money that we both worked hard for, *loud hiss*). Those have stopped due to my raining insults on him, and willing that fate on his outside children and none of my own, (which I regretted but I was pushed; happened many years ago and I have since repented and he has since stopped the dumb bragging).

In my opinion, you have to choose. Will worry about raising their college tuition money later, I cut my hours to work on them now. That is just one of many differences we have in child rearing. Now I am at the point where I think I may not be the best teacher for them, they are so far behind, and spend more time at school, we need to start looking at schools that will actually work with them. Hubby thinks am being frivolous after all, education is free in America, why pay for something when you have it free? I have complained about their lack of knowledge, the inappropriate homework and have gone off on a teacher that tried to imply that we were not doing enough at home and hence the deficits that she did not see. I will chronicle my "school fights" one of these days.

It is so exhausting to be a parent. Needless to say, when I started getting a bad rep at the kids school over things that we agreed needed to be addressed, my hubby turns around to tell me how "I dey go show my true colors outside". Even more so when a child has two parents physically but one parent seems to think they will raise themselves. Don't get me wrong, he is on board with anything I suggest as long as he does not have to physically do anything to enforce or carry it out and its free.


On a side note,  my use of so therefore is something I learnt from Mrs Udokpo my beloved primary four teacher who inspired in me a love of maths and love for teaching (she would say "SO" and draw the three dots for therefore while she was explaining, lol). She was also short and smallish and to make up for her height was wicked and punished us for anything and everything. I wish I could say she took a special liking to me but she thought I was dull and the only reason why I did well with her is she kind of carried the class along, explained in different ways, gave lots of homework and classwork, and I just typically did as I was told. Before I was her pupil, Math and Greek were one and the same. But even years later, I would never have been the mathematician I became if it were not for her. I wonder where she is now.