Sunday, February 20, 2011

Babble babble


Tired and not sure what to do with myself, so I figured I would blog.

It looks like I didn't blog at all last week. Not sure I can recall enough to share. A few of us were sick at least one day, my 3yo niece was tired ALL week. The 16yo is getting further and further behind in his work. I asked him on Friday what he was going to do to catch up. He said he didn't know. I asked him to think about it this weekend. If he gets here Tuesday (tomorrow's a holiday here) and hasn't come up with anything (which I think is likely), I already have a plan! heh heh. ;) It's not a mean plan, but it's got to be done. He does not care enough about the work, he has fallen into some disruptive behaviours, which is almost always a sign of something stressing him and he's avoiding it or looking at making himself feel better by engaging in disruptive "fun". I don't think it's specifically the work; there's some stuff going on at home, I think. He's also been complaining about his stomach hurting, which tends to occur more when he's stressed about something. I think I'd like to read through Choice Theory again and maybe Reality Therapy In Action--I've used tools from both in the past to get him to move forward.

So, what's my plan? Well, double up the sections he's covering in math and physics, the two he's behind in, but at the same time, cutting back on the number of questions, until he's caught up (I can't remember how long that will take with this approach). The questions will all be typed up on worksheets. I will make it clear to him that I've cut back on the number he's supposed to do, which means there is not enough practice in just the work he's being given to learn it well--meaning, he will not get the average he says he wants unless he does more than what I'm giving him. If he wants to do better than a C, he will have to do extra at some point--either take things home for homework, work in books designed for extra practice, etc. If he does not get the day's assigned work done in the time he's here, he has to take all incomplete work home. I haven't yet decided what to do if he doesn't get the homework done. I'm thinking of a couple of options to give him: 1) He works first thing on all the incomplete work and then we move onto the day's work, which, again, if he doesn't finish during the day, he has to bring work home; 2) It will be just like in school: Don't get the work done, well, that's too bad, we're moving on and it will affect your ability to do the end-of-unit work, which he can do open book, but he will not be receiving other assistance with it (that's actually part of the work agreement with the school).

This feels harsh in some ways, but I've fallen into enabling him again. I've had a pattern of not insisting on staying up-to-date in his work, then I focus on nothing but him to get him caught up at the end of the semester. I rescue him. (The topic of rescuing vs helping came up on a list I'm on, which is what led to me thinking about the plan above.) I'm not going to rescue him anymore. I will let him fail if that's what he's going to choose to do. It's not so much failing that he's choosing, but he's choosing to not push through uncomfortable feelings, which leads to giving up and failing; indirectly choosing to fail, I think in part because he expects to be rescued. I really need to reread Choice Theory and Reality Therapy In Action because the techniques and information would be so useful in helping him be aware of his choices and their consequences, and that he is capable of choosing something different. This is by no means a "normalized" child, never has been, and he is now 16, has an LD label and many poor coping techniques that are being increasingly used lately; a typical Montessori approach is not helpful (although a good Erdkiner during his junior high years might have made a huge difference for him!). He talks about going to college, but he is so darn dependent (yes, I know, I've allowed it) and doesn't want to handle feeling uncomfortable or frustrated with something, I just don't see how he would even be able to do a single class. He needs to be challenged and guided through challenges now, not when he ends up in college and nobody there is going to really care.

With my two... I had started on some topic one morning, which led to a question about something else, which led to us looking up online about the Mayan calendar and somehow that all led to me saying I wanted to make a lapbook. Well, that got dd going AND ds going--he's never made a lapbook, never done any kind of real research work and presentation. This is sure to keep us busy for the next while. I'm working on Benjamin Franklin, ds is working on dinosaurs and dd is doing Vikings. I will still start our mornings off with our routine (get ready for the day, religion, at least one lesson to start), but now we have some additional work to tackle during the day. I'm so excited. :)

I can't remember what I brought out for the 3yo this week. She ended up napping a lot--she spent the week waking up early to pee or having a nightmare or things like that. Oh, but here's some wonderful progress: the 16yo wanted to get her to talk. She will talk with ds and sometimes to dd, a little bit to me, but just to ask if I can open this or that or do something for her. She wouldn't talk to the 16yo. Somehow or other, they were playing and she started playfully hitting him. He said she could only hit him again if she talked. So, he got her to take part in a discussion with him, intermittent with her hitting him. LOL (It sounds awful, but it was all fun and very cute.) She talked and talked and talked. And showed how much she has been listening to what we say. He asked her why she doesn't talk anymore: she replied it was because her big sister had gone to school. (I've said that to the olders in the past! Little sneak! lol) I'm hoping this new-found speech will stay. It was so good to have her fully back like that.

Speaking of the 3yo, it reminds me that one of my projects for this weekend is tackling the school shelves. The girls have been taking things out and not putting them back in the right spot. Plus there are things that aren't being used that could be temporarily stored. A project for tomorrow. I used to have some Classification Card sets that I'd made; I wonder if I will be able to find them, or if I even still have them. They would be a fantastic activity for me to have out on the shelves.

***EDIT***: If only to confirm what I posted minutes ago about my plans for the 16yo, I went into an email account, clicked on a link about the quote of the day, to find this:

High expectations are the key to everything.
~Sam Walton (Wal-Mart founder)

I want him to do a lot, but I don't think I expect it of him. I need to expect it of him and take steps, like the above, to help him to meet the expectations. His own expectations are completely off base and unrealistic.

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