Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is ParentCONNECT Too Much Information?

For those of you not familiar with ParentCONNECT, it's a web tool that allows you to micro-manage your child's school life.

You can monitor their homework assignments, email their teachers, and you can get email alerts if they fail to turn in homework or a miss a day of school. The only thing missing is a web cam that allows you to see them goofing off in class.

I never had access to a tool like that when young GTO was going to school in Richmond. Ray County don't play that shit.

But from kindergarten to 8th grade, GTO was a straight A/B student. No disiplinary issues, no problems. Just glowing grade cards with comments from teachers who described her as a joy to have in their classroom.

But now she's attending the Blue Springs Freshman Center and unlike Ray County, they do, in fact, play that shit. So now I have access to all of this fine detail. And it's disturbing.

I get email reports of failing grades because she has failed to turn in assignments. So I start talking to her about it and it pisses her off. We've never had these conversations before. There was never a reason to have these conversations.

But the thing is, she hasn't actually recieved a grade card yet. This is all a work in progress that I am seeing at a level of detail that was previously unavailable to me. She has never, ever, received a report card with anything below a B. There may have been one C. But still. She's a good kid and a good student.

So I told her I was going to back off and just trust her to do what she has always done and bring home the A's and B's.

But here is what I have up my sleeve.

She has recently discovered the joy of going to concerts and experiencing live music. I've bought her a couple of concert tickets in instances where there was an adult chaperone willing to go and stay with her and her friends while they endure the loud, unlistenable crap that 14 year old girls call music (I sound just like my dad talking about Jimi Hendrix!).

If her grade cards for this semester are below that A/B standard that she has established, I'm going to cut her off of little extras like concerts, CDs, T-Shirts, etc. and put her on notice. She has the next semester to get her act together and get back in that A/B range. If she fails to do so, I'll suspend her cell phone account for the summer. A (by then) 15 year old girl without a cell phone and text messaging for the summer. To make it hurt, I'd probably have to get her mother to take the laptop away too.

OK fellow parents, what do you think?

This was a lot easier when I didn't have access to the day to day stuff.


Nightmare said...

Yes that is too much shit for the kid to deal with. Stop using it, stop snooping around. I bet she feels as violated as you feel creepy doing it. You gonna start wondering why she wants a massage head in the shower too? or why your water bill is getting larger...stop meddling.

Doc said...

I was just telling The Good Mother that all this is yet a foreign landscape for me: getting the Astas through kindergarten and pre-school is job one; I'll deal with the rest later.

Of course, just to be sure, I already have PowerSchool access for the kindergartener...

Can't tell you the number of times my blood pressure has spiked because I noticed she was running with sissors....

; ' )

radiomankc said...

Good piece, I agree with you completely. Kids need their space to become independent. Childhood isn't supposed to be a prison and parents aren't supposed to be probation officers. Even though they'll give you reason to WANT to be, from time to time.

Anonymous said...

The mister and I might be inheriting a teenager soon (long story), I guess I better start learning about this kind of stuff.

m.v. said...

you should run gitmo! cut out text messaging? take the laptop away? evil!

AMANDA said...

We have the same deal at my kid's middle school. I wouldn't freak on it too bad-the kids know it's there so it isn't like you are spying on them. It's a much easier way to resolve issues/concerns of our overwhelmed/underpaid teaching staff than phone calls and take home notes of yesteryear. The key is not to get bent on the daily grades. They grade the crap out everything on there-participation, quizzes, EVERYTHING. My boy frequently gets F's, D's and C's on that site, but has never fallen below A or B on quarterly grades. You've raised a good girl-no worries Daddy-O! Let her go to the concert! :o)

Joe said...

I agree with Amanda. My bonus daughter is 13 and in the 8th grade. Only her math teacher sends out a weekly progress report through email. I don't sweat each and every part of the grade, I more use it to make sure the Sunshine is keeping on the right path. My unsolictited advice is to not sweat the small stuff but if GTO doesn't toe the line, be ready with the cell phone!

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Well, would you rather know there's a glacier ahead and be able to steer away from it or head for the life boats when the ship is going down? Since the captain of the ship can't be at the helm every waking minute, he has to instruct and educate his crew on what's expected and trust them to do their job, let them do it, checking in once in a while to make sure they're staying on course.

It's the captain, though, that is ultimately responsible for the ship.

Anonymous said...

Write a contract that includes the "fun" stuff as priviledges, and tie those priviledges to grades, attitude etc. I even bought my 15 year old a car and parked it until her grades got better and her attitude impoved, it worked, whenever I got some crap I would just take her to the garage and show her, her car, and ask, What is your problem again?

She is in college and not preggers.

emawkc said...

I think this is just the thing to compliment the GPS-equipped subdermal transponder that you've had implanted in her. You HAVE had that GPS-equipped subdermal transponder implanted, haven't you?

Fiery said...

The Parent CONNECT stuff sounds micro-managing and creepy as. Talk about too much info.

Definitely have the talk about education... your future... your responsibility.. her responsibilty... and cellphone/texting removal is a great idea.

Might want to find out if there is something behind the grade slippage- poor friend choices, boredom, bad teachers, bullying, boyfriend distractions. :)

TALK TO HER!!!! :) But you know all this. You're a great dad and she's a great kid.

Best of luck!!!!!

Protium the Heathen said...

Does GTO know your blog address?

Xavier Onassis said...

protium - I don't think so. I've certainly never given it to her and my nom de blog has never come up in casual conversation.