Telltale laughter | Living with Gleigh

I hear laughter coming from down the hall. I must stop it. Laughter can only mean one thing on a Sunday afternoon during the school year – no one is doing their homework.

From the time my oldest was an infant, she laughed all the way from her toes. Her laughter carries throughout the house, but it also serves to out her.

She sits in her room and views YouTube videos, cartoons and quirky writing on her computer and can’t help but laugh out loud.

These days I don’t necessarily know when she has homework because she’s in college and taking art classes, but yesterday I knew. She kept telling me how she was going to work on her design homework then head off to school to do some painting for her oil painting class, but all I could hear was her and my younger daughter (who also had homework) hootin’ and hollerin’ up a storm.

I really don’t like to micromanage my children’s homework even though I always ask if they have any. It’s best if I don’t know what the homework is or when it’s due, because they will not hear the end of my nagging until the assignment is turned in. It’s why I rarely look on the school district’s website.

There is a program called Skyward that is designed for teachers to post assignments and grades. Parents are encouraged to monitor the site to check on their child’s progress.

There are a couple flaws with the system: One is the teacher has to be really on top of a hundred or so kids’ work to immediately update the site and two is that I really don’t want to know.

I want to interject here and say that I am a very involved parent. I know the high school teachers and they know me. I am around enough that they recognize I’ve got my child’s back and theirs too if necessary. I have had to “go to bat” for my daughters a few times regarding grades, classes, and placements. I’ve scheduled conferences with teachers so we (my child, the teacher and I) could all get on the same page.

Just this year I was asked by one of the teachers if I would go on a field trip. He asked around and word on the street was I was the type of parent willing to chaperone. So I’ve either got “sucker” written on my forehead or I’m very involved.

My point in telling you this is because I believe my child’s grades are their responsibility and not the attitude of a neglectful parent.

I have tried to explain to my daughters, as well as one can explain to a teenager, that everything they do from here on out will reflect in their future. I have outlined my expectations and I assume they will hold up their end of the deal.

This philosophy has worked fairly well for us as they have grown to have expectations for themselves and have been good students to this point. I think it’s good they are learning to self-monitor because high school is the first opportunity they have in life to learn how to run their own lives with the safety net of their parents still intact.

I still find myself micromanaging many aspects of their lives and one thing that grates on my nerves is laughter and joy exuding across the house when I am sure they should be doing homework.

My oldest daughter may not be able to keep from laughing when the moment strikes, but I can’t help inquiring after the progress of their homework when she does.

Nothing dispels laughter and joy quicker than the phrase, “Do you have homework.”

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She continues to micromanage her children’s lives except for their homework. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.”


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