Friday, January 8, 2010

Rolling in 2010

Eight days down...that's right people - we've made it through 8 days of a new year and my house is still standing and my family is all alive.
The beginning of a new year is often hectic around here. Lots of new activities start and many plans seem to come together. I actually like the madness a bit. I love to see my kids active and 'doing'...although we are still deep in winter (what is with this cold...10 degrees for a high is NOT something I enjoy), it starts to feel like a melt is happening at my house. I know the holidays are important and such an integral part of family life - but's basically just a time for me to lose track of what day of the week it is and often, pray for school to start again!
I was happy to see my kids jump right back into the thick of things - bringing homework home on day one of going back...that's what I like to see. However, it underlined, yet again, that DS2 is falling behind. I'm back to fighting the good fight. I went to see the principal where I was told that it's good for a parent to 'let their child fail' - to which I replied:


There was no response. It seems that to leave no child behind means that no child has to learn what should be learned. I'm frustrated. I look at his work and wonder how he's 'average'? I was also told (in 'school talk') that I had expectations that were too high for him. This was after I pointed out that not one week this year has he copied his 15 spelling words from the board to his planner correctly. Not once. Often they are so mispelled that I can't even decipher what word it might be. So, the answer seems to be to set the bar lower...maybe he can only be responsible for writing 10 words correctly...and I should, apparently, share these lowered expectations with him.

Yes, I know that parenting a child with 'special needs' is different - but I do not agree with lowering the bar to the level he wants to achieve. I just wonder when it became wrong to want your child to succeed. The principal seemed to think that I was talking about this behind DS2's back...NOPE. We are honest with him - he knows what we expect. We give him great kudos for doing his best - which is not A's all the time - and that is just fine. Seriously. I just want him to learn to achieve...something...anything. Instead he sits at the bar and tells me "I just have to turn in the paper. It doesn't matter at all if any of them are right".

I can't argue with that because it's true. He's been turning in blatantly wrong homework all year and NOT ONCE has anyone but me noticed. It gets stamped "practice" and sent back home. So, how do I sell that to him? How do I convince him that it's important to do your best when no one else seems to care? How?

Egads...I sound like a negative Nelly. I don't like that.

So, the good is that DD started a new dance class and really liked it - so she's tumbling and dancing through the rest of winter/spring - highly anticipating her first season of competitive softball coming in August. DS2 is ready for his winter indoor flag football league and upcoming track season and DS1 is playing basketball, slightly overlapping the start of his last baseball season before trying out for high school. AND - we registered for middle school for DS2 and high school registration is next week for DS1. much fun...and weirdly, I'm a little sad to see it all going so fast.

We are debating our options for DS2 right now. DH and I are supporting each other through this. The goal is to find a school environment that will give him more one on one instruction, hold him more accountable and give him one more year to gain maturity (really, I am not excited about the concept of him in a locker room with 50 boys that are heads taller than him...not worried about him...worried for THEM)...that means public middle school is not the best option and we know that. We'll figure it out and have some things percolating! At least there is something out there...I just have to find it!


  1. I remember having a school meeting almost exactly as you describe. We found two different solutions for our two boys.

    The first attended a private school for children with learning disabilities - a maximum class size of six, curriculum taught in more multisensory ways, accountability. Although I sometimes worried the curriculum might be watered down, he always tested grade average or above on yearly standardized testing.

    I home schooled the second son using curriculum I specifically chose for his learning style and interests. Although he was the great manipulator, Mom wouldn't let him get by with anything. The child that private and public schools gave up on tested at college level in math by middle school.

  2. We have felt your pain around the need for a child to have more concentrated attention at school. Now that our older is in a very low ratio educations situation, it's made night and day with her, especially with attitude toward school. While there was more to this than just academics for our daughter, it truly reinforced the idea that some kids need to learn differently and when those needs are accomodated, things can turn around. Keep up your efforts to find the right way for DS2 to learn!


  3. We have parent/teacher conferences tonight for M. They are going to tell me how wonderful she is doing, then I will remind them that she is 2 yrs behind and 2 yrs older than the children in her class and that they shouldn't compare her to them. It's pretty much pointless. She is dumb as doornail at home and a genius at school. She screws up her spelling words and ABC order every week at home but gets a 100 on the test at school. It's all good. I've been given a free ticket by our therapist to walk away from homework the first time she pulls the 'stupid' act, and let her suffer the 'natural consequences' of getting a 'bad grade' at school for it. She told me if she wants to fail at home on purpose, let her...she's only in 2nd grade and grades don't matter until she reaches 6th. Her words. Not mine. So I'm 'letting go' of the school work and grades for now...for my sanity. It's been a week so far. Do I sound more sane? : )

  4. Well...I sent a packet of info (with failed homework, etc.) to the principal late last week and haven't heard a word back. This is the part where they simply try to push me off until it's too late to do anything this year.
    Norah - I try to stay out of homework too - but he is in 6th grade and I do feel it matters, too bad I'm the only one (it seems).
    As for homeschool - I think about it, but really, it would be terrible for our relationship - heck, just checking homework is the worst part of our day. And, our attachment (again, both ways) is still not complete or even good some days. So, I think it would do more harm than good. I'm stressed out just thinking about it!

  5. The conference was a complete shock. She is smart at school. I mean really smart. I saw her work and her test scores. She's above grade level now. Her school work was actually good. Things were written neatly and spelled correctly and wow... She even admitted to the teacher that she gives me a hard time at home with the homework.

    Homeschooling would be the death of me. I could never, ever, HS her. Never.