The Dog ate my Wi-Fi

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Ah…quarter one of the school year is almost over. We have settled in here and already survived our first round of sore throats. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy having a few moments to have a complete thought while the kids are at school. And I also must mention that having that complete thought is absolutely necessary since the hours between 2:55 and 9 are energy draining, patience testing and soul crushing juggling after school activities (and required drop offs and pick ups at various locales), last minute schedule changes, homework, some semblance of dinner, preparations for surviving the next day and the bedtime rituals that range from a peaceful drifting off to an epic meltdown.

One of the things the whole house enjoys during the summer months is no homework. But we are back in the thick of it and the homework is mind-boggling. As a student, I didn’t even complete have much homework until the high school years. And even then, I regarded homework as more of a light suggestion than a requirement. Now they brainwash them early and I’m hoping it pays off in the end…for me.

The first grader is already giving me a hard time over his 7 minutes of whatever and he knows I’m old now. I can see it in his eyes…he thinks, “I will be the one to finally break this woman. She’ll be 55 by the time I graduate from high school…there is NO way she can keep up this pace.”  We.will.see. I feel the need to enforce the homework to build the habit no matter how inane it is at 7 years old.  I was indeed questioning the necessity of (mock) wandering around our house with him looking for thermometers to tally.  Thermometers: one.  Such valuable learning.

The other two kids are in their homework routine. Truth be told, they don’t need my help nor do they want it with homework. They have surpassed me in math aptitude years ago; we all know it and they are polite enough to not bring it up. From time to time they will say something cute like, “Mom, do you remember the Pythagorean Theorem?” No. I don’t. So I’m just support staff for them now. I buy protractors, change ink cartridges in the printer, bring treats when they hit a depressive slump and give sympathetic looks when they have to read endless paragraphs about Mesopotamia. Recently, one of my children was found SLEEPING at 7:35 pm, having been lulled by an insufferable textbook into a quick eye nap. Now that I remember.

So I’m first in line when they need moral support but worst of all-tech support.

The school gives the kids their own personal ipad in grades 6-12. Yay? I like this idea in theory. It is equalizing. Everyone has the same access to technology and it is free. (as much as public school is free) So they are fortunate. Truly blessed students-21st century learners…blah.blah.blah.

However, the ipads, the technology, the upkeep and troubleshooting are a 21st century pain in my ass. First, the ipads caused us to need a wireless printer. Fine. $60. We all use it printing from every device and every corner of the house. Still, I question the reasonableness of asking every family to purchase a number of accessories just to make your ‘free’ iPad functional.

The cords and chargers and keyboards and cases are everywhere.   Everywhere. Fine. I can live with it. Decorative basket to hold every necessary accessory is a jumble resembling a Christmas light nightmare despite my best efforts.

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yep.  That’s a Nerf bullet in there too.

My husband just built this last week.  He is quite hopeful that this will alleviate the need to charge things in 6 different spots.  I admire his optimism.


The apple ids, the downloading, ios updating, the charging, Wi-Fi passwords, password changes, logins, logouts, learning new apps, navigating the integration of everything. We have had tears/rage at 10:45pm when something goes wrong. (okay, they cry and I have the rage) Help me.

It really makes me rethink the college courses I selected. I took “Math for Poets”. Seriously. I should have taken classes in IT. Oh wait…there were no IT classes available because it was 1989-1993 and I was busy marveling over the word processor that my roommate owned. Magical. I remember one friend would “IM” her boyfriend freshman year and I thought she was absolutely part of the fringe of society.

A few days ago, my husband had to reset the modem and it booted my 9th grader off an online quiz. She can’t get back in because it is designed to only let you go through once to prevent cheating. He felt terrible. She wasn’t thrilled. We considered how to explain it to the teacher. What excuse was best to plead her case?

What excuses can they use? There are no excuses.

I literally could have said, “The dog ate my homework” in high school and a teacher might have believed me. I could have feigned illness, said I missed the instructions on the blackboard, conjured up some tears and it could have worked. I would have easily gotten an extension.  Honestly, I could have concealed my grades from my parents for months. They wouldn’t know a thing until the grades were mailed out. And they might never know if I intercepted them first. (Tip: If you find yourself in 1987 again, intercept 4th quarter grades because parents completely forget you even have grades after June 8th)

But now?

Everything in detail is at my fingertips and theirs now.  On the computer, and on the mobile app on my phone. I can see their schedules, their instructors, their standardized test scores, their lunch accounts, their grades, every quiz, and every 5-point assignment. I can set alerts to be pinged for missed assignments, a ‘grade drop threshold’, absences, etc. I can track and see their every move. Many pop tarts have been purchased this year. I’m privy to every single thing. I actually need to deal with the pop tarts limit after I post this…it’s out of control.

I had to download my defunct Twitter account to follow the high school principal. I don’t want to be on Twitter! I’m probably the only person in the world that is following Jimmy Fallon, 5 arts organizations and one high school principal.

So I’m sorry for holding you back kids. I’m sorry I have to learn alongside you starting at a significant deficit as a digital rookie. I’m a bad troubleshooter.

The only excuse they have now is this:

Hey, my mom makes a killer chocolate chip cookie when I’m neck deep in the periodic table and can give some pretty decent pointers in navigating dreaded ‘group project’ relationships but she doesn’t know SH&T about dropboxing a password protected Notability assignment with a Google link into a subfolder using a hot spot as a Wi-Fi connection.

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