The Wages of AP English

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Dear Sugar Mama –

In light of the fact that most of us will be receiving our kids’ end-of-year report cards over the next few weeks, will you please weigh in on the topic of PAYING UNREASONABLE AMOUNTS OF MONEY FOR GOOD GRADES?  Personally, I think it’s TOTALLY ridiculous – kids should be getting good grades to better themselves … NOT THEIR WALLETS.


A parent, NOT A BANK

Dear A –

You’re probably NOT GOING TO LIKE ME for saying this, but I RESPECTFULLY disagree. Because, while I realize there are some exceptions to this generalization, most kids are NOT inherently motivated by complex fractions. They’re inspired by ice cream, skateboards, or those WEIRD FEATHER THINGS girls put in their hair.

Think about it, would you go to work every day for no pay, just cuz?


Most of us have jobs – albeit NOT AT A BANK, in your case – to earn a paycheck. Well, same goes with our kids, in my opinion. Going to school is their version of 9-to-5, if you ask me, during which they’re being evaluated on their performance and should be recognized accordingly. So a fair compensation package is not only totally appropriate in my house, but encouraged.

You know what my son did with the $20 he saved from his last report card? He spent it at last week’s book fair. My other son, who bombed in math last year, killed it this year. Why? Because he’s saving up to buy a chunk of land in the Central Valley to mine for gold in the winter and raise lizards during the hotter months.

I’ll agree with you that there should be a REASONABLE dollar-per-grade payment structure. No one’s getting rich at my house. But everyone gets a carrot – something tangible to keep them on track.


Sugar Mama


Dear Sugar Mama,

My son is turning 5 and we’re trying to figure out what to do about his schooling come September. We don’t have a lot of faith in the public schools, and private schools are expensive. We’re talking about home schooling, but that seems kind of intimidating. What can you recommend?

– In a Quandary

Dear Quandary –

Whenever I hear the term “home schooling,” I immediately think of those Duggar kids sitting at their dining room table fashioning home perms and mending all those khaki pants – all 19 of them.

Look, the day your kids can leave the nest to write on someone else’s walls is a day to be cherished, in my opinion. Plus, we’re not the only ones who need a break from us – how many trips to the grocery store can one kid make while “home schooling”? Take it from me, out-of-the-home is out of this world.

Regarding public versus private, how wrong can you go in Newport Beach? One plus one will always equal two and “b” will always follow “a,” no matter where you go. So don’t assume you’ll have a problem with something before a problem’s happened, Quandary.

Start with public, and if that doesn’t work, look at private. And if you can’t afford it, you still have one more year to conceive 18 more kids and pitch a successful show to TLC.

Keep me posted,

Sugar Mama


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