Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I am a bad mother

Last semester Mac waited until 4 days before his English class deadline to read a book that was worth 10% of his grade for the entire semester. It was about 600 pages. Oh, it was The Book Thief.

It was hell for four days because I nagged him all the time which caused us to argue which made me mad but I still nagged. I couldn't let it go even though I knew he was making the choice to screw around and the outcome hurt him, not me.

Regardless of all the yelling (both of us), the nagging (me), and the tears (me again) he did finish the book and got an "A" on the test.

I was an English teacher in my past life. I was a fairly decent student in school. He is smart. He is an excellent reader and an even better writer. He practically has a photographic memory. But he just pisses this away because he's bored with high school.

So, this semester, I decided to be a bad mom. Or a bad teacher, but I'm not his teacher but still, what I did would be a "bad teacher" thing. I bribed him. Yes, I stand here before you, ladies and gentleman, hand to heart and tell you I bribed my child to read.

This semester he needs like a million points at his reading level which is like grade 29- he's off the charts, to be honest. This semester his teacher broke the number of independent reading points he needs into some the 3rd quarter and some the last quarter. So I bribed him. If Mac reads one of his "for points at his level" books and completes the book and the test over it by Feb. 1, I'll give him $10. If he has it done by Jan. 15, I'll give him $15. Additionally, if he gets all his third quarter points by Valentine's Day I'll give him an additional $20, so he could make $35. For doing his homework, which is something he should do on his own, at his age.

I can't let it go. It's a reading thing. It's a book thing. It's a teacher thing. It's an English teacher thing. It's a control thing (maybe). Hell, it's the mother-of-a-really-smart-teenage-boy-who-is-being-lazy thing.

I'm a bad mother.

Book bribing,
On another note....

I like this song. There's no video here, just a picture of the singer from the group Train, but I like the song: "Hey Soul Sister" by... Train. Enjoy!


Curley said...

When the boys were in elementary school they asked me how much I would give them for each A they got. I laughed. Said they should make A's just for the sake of making A's. And I never have paid for a grade. On the other hand I think if the schools actually had and let the kids read something that they liked and wanted to read they might have better results.

Maggie said...

Curley- I've never paid for grades until now. See, bad mom.

Lilith said...

I don't see how this differs from the pizza hut thing my kids did in elementary school or a summer reading program.

In both those instances, kids are told, "hey if you read this much, you'll get this reward." So you're doing the same thing, just with money instead of pizza!

Maggie said...

Lilith- Oh I remember when Mac did "Book It"... I get that. Okay, I'm like a cash version of Book It. Hmmm, let me ponder on that.

And for anyone who cares, Mac finished the book he was reading TODAY, Jan. 6--- about 25 days before one deadline and 9 days before the other one. Good for him! Cash incentives are good. wrong, but good.

Anonymous said...


it is a shoe--book thing...


great post....


Duchess of Tea said...

Darling you are not a bad mom, no no no, you are not and you know why I know this…because I did the same thing when my son was in 5th grade. It worked and that’s all I have to say. Good luck to both you and Mac. I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year and that 2010 turns out to be the best year of your life, followed by many more.

Love & Hugs