Mr. T's Science Scene

Split Households / Joint Custody

It has been my experience over the many years of teaching that families don't always stay together. For many and varied reasons, the students find themselves in one of two situations: a) sole custody of one parent with visitation scheduled for the other or b) joint custody where the student goes back and forth between households; sometimes every day, every week, every other day, etc.

Two thoughts come to mind. The first one has to do with education expectations.  It is extremely difficult for a student to do well in school if the two households are of differnt mind sets in their child's education expectations. Sometimes one parent will be the enforcer and the other will be the complete opposite. Sometimes one parent will stress independent efforts and the other will be overly helpful. In any case, it is important that the two most important adults (parents) of the student come to some consensus about how their child will go about the process of learning. Rules about when to study or do homework, for how long, consequences for not being responsible, how much you (the parent) will be involved, how you will keep tabs on your child's efforts and outcomes should be talked out and agreed upon- preferably with the child as part of the decision making process.

In some cases, especially those in which the divorce or separation were difficult, it can be almost impossible for rational talk between the parents. I would urge you to try and put your feelings for each other aside and focus on what's best for your child/student. Sometimes, this can't be done. I understand that and we'll work it out the best we can.

The second thought is much more mundane. Typically, in situations where there is joint custody or single parent custody, one of the parents is left "out of the loop".  If you find yourself in that situation- mailings don't get to you, phone calls go to the other home, updates and information must come through the child or the other parent, I would encourage you to call the school and have your contact information added to the mailings list. In addition, at least for this class, you can send me your email address and I will add you to my list- see below. If you would like a copy of the "mailings" that go home with your child, please let me know so I can make copies for your child.

Click to email me to be added to the parent email  list.  Please include your name, relationship to child, and your child's name.

Vacations start the day the district closes school and ends the day the district opens the schools again. For those who take vacations early, end them late, or take them when school is in session, your child is still responsible for all the curriculum, tests, and quizzes that they miss due to being taken out of school.

In science, as in many classes, the missed material or assessments may not be able to be given/taken early- especially if the classes are not progressing at the expected rate. Additionally, there are labs and class activities that just can not be done at home.

If the material has been taught, tests and quizzes should be arranged by your child to be taken early- if possible- as taking the assessments AFTER the early vacation almost always results in lower grades due to the relationship between when the material was covered and what your child may or may not have retained.

You can help your child most by AVOIDING taking extended or early vacations or vacations when school is in session. If you choose to do so, please keep in mind the above issues.

Thank you.