Do you ever have one of those dreams where for one reason or another you have to go back to school? For me, it’s always because I didn’t pass one math class, usually over one test, and never mind that I’ve graduated college and done three years of graduate study, I still have to go back to high school for a whole year, and not just to do the math class, but to do the whole senior year over. But the school’s never the same as when I went there, and I don’t have my schedule or any of my books, and I have no idea where to get the information, and no one will talk to me because I’m so old.
I hate those dreams so much.
Unfortunately, having kids with learning challenges is exactly like living those dreams.
Xander is doing okay. Not stellarly, but for the most part he’s managing to get B’s and C’s, which is all I ask. But he had to write an essay this last week on Romeo and Juliet. Writing is his barrier. Any kind of writing just stops him cold. So over the weekend we slogged through with reviewing his organizer, laying out the outline and just bloody writing the thing (there were many cupcake bribes involved). So of course, when he turned it in on Monday, he got it back with revision requests. Which is hellish in and of itself, but it came at the same time he got a heavy homework load. So I have been scribing for him and carrot/sticking him just to get through the daily stuff, which he’s dragged his feet on partially because it, too, involved a lot of writing and partly I suspect because he knew he was going to have to do the revisions when he finished. He (meaning we) was doing homework every night until 10:00 without us ever getting to the essay. Finally last night he got a break (orchestrated, I suspect, by his case manager) and we sat down at the keyboard to do his revisions. Keep in mind I HAVE NEVER READ ROMEO AND JULIET. I was fortunate enough not to have to do it in 9th grade. The AP class did Tale of Two Cities instead, which was much more interesting. Of course I know the basics of the story, but I hate that story so much. I haven’t seen Romeo+Juliet, I haven’t even seen West Side Story. So my contribution to this whole process what prodding him with questions. I helped him break down his points into individual sentences instead of one long one and showed him how to add justifications to each point. It took an hour, but finally at the end, he had expanded everything I thought reasonably well for a child with a learning challenge. It was interesting because for the first time in a couple of weeks, he was getting no points on his daily behavior chart in English, even though all the other classes he was getting 3-4 out of 4. I asked him if he thought it was because he felt bad about not having his essay done, and he thought yes. I’ll be interested to see his point sheet for today. Now back to dreading the next writing assignment.
Meanwhile, there’s Hero. Despite the threats to her participation in colorguard, she hasn’t changed her homework behavior. Interims are next week, and last week I checked to online gradebook just to get a sense of how she was doing. Just like last marking period, she was failing two of her classes, strictly due to lack of homework completion. Ten minutes later I got an email from her Latin teacher with concerns about her there as well. So she got another two-footed landing on. She has until the end of this week to get all her missing work done. If she does, then I will give her a second chance on colorguard until the end of the marking period. But I’ve watched her this week, and I’m not seeing a lot of drive for her to get the work done.
It’s frustrating, and it truly, deeply feels like one of those sent-back dreams. I really have no control over them, or over the teachers, beyond what’s set up in their plans. If the teachers don’t post to the HAC or their teacher websites, I have no way of knowing what homework is assigned or missing. I just have to do the best I can, even if that’s just sending in a note saying “Neither one of us understood this math, although he made the attempt.” I hated high school the first time, and I’ve already done it a second time through Morgan. Now it looks like I get to do a third and fourth time.
At least my I-never-went-to-play-practice dreams haven’t come true.