Family - it's where your story begins.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Redo, redo, redo

Well, after my husband returned from conferences with J's teachers, it looks like J will be one busy boy today and through next week which is Spring break. J is able to redo assignments that got poor grades (F, D, C) and he's also able to retake two Math tests that he failed. YAY!

When hubby and I were speaking to J at lunch today, we stressed the importance (yet again) of bringing his grades up. J was upset about the Math assignments that he swore he handed in, but I asked him if maybe he just didn't hand them in because he didn't want to do them. He swore he handed them in. I asked J if he thought his study habits were a problem and he simply said, "No." I asked if he thought he had it all together and he said, "Yes." I said, "Then by all means, keep going the route you're going. If you think things are hard now, just wait until you get into high school. It's even worse there. But if you think you have it under control, by all means, keep doing what you're doing." Hubby agreed with me and reiterated what I said and put it into his own words.

If J can spend all the time in the world playing board games and card games, he apparently has a whole lot of extra time that he can spend studying. We ask him every day if he has homework and he says 'no.' Apparently his teachers say different. He should have something each and every day.

Oh, and get this - J has to rewrite some papers that he claimed to have handed in and/or that got poor grades, and he never saved them to his flash drive because he used the computers at school. I told him to get in the habit of saving everything no matter where it's typed up. Save, save, save!

Well, anyway, as is usually the case after hubby and I talk to J about school, he clams up. He's usually pretty silent and tends to tear up and cry. Today, he basically kept his mouth closed unless asked to say something. I asked him how he felt about his grades and what we want him to do (redo the assignments that were either missing or got low grades) and he said, "I don't know." I said, "Oh, I'm sure you know. You might say 'to heck with you' or something. I know you have something to say." He did go on to say he didn't understand why he got low grades in Math and we explained that it was during a time earlier this year when a substitute teacher was present. The actual teacher did state that he'd look over grades when he returned, and in this case, our child would be able to retake tests and redo assignments.

I just hope we are going in the right direction with J. He knows how we feel, but I don't know if it will actually sink in. Will he get his act together and actually try the next time? His dad and I both told him that we know how hard school is because we went through it also. We want him to do well. His teachers know he is capable of doing better. Why can't he just TRY????

Can he just get it together already??

You know, it is so hard raising a child who does not care one iota if his grades are poor. Hubby and I can talk to him until we are blue in the face and it doesn't faze him one bit. J turned 13 and his lazy attitude towards school is taking its toll on his dad and I.

J has three Honors classes this year, in 7th grade, and he's pretty much doing poorly in all of them. The only class he is getting an 'A' in is Computer Keyboarding. He has Math (which he claims is his favorite subject), Literacy/Reading (which I know he dislikes), World History (an Honors class), Language Arts (another Honors class), and Life Science (Honors, yet again). Before J started 7th grade, he had to be screened (he took a test at the school district's main office in town) along with a few dozen other kids. Only so many made it into the Honors program, and J was one of them. We did ask him, before he took the test, if he really and truly wanted to be in the program. His answer was, "Yes." In order to stay in the program, the grades for Honors classes can fall no lower than B-. He's averaging C's and D's.

What really gets me is that J doesn't give his all. He doesn't try. He'd rather do as little as he can to get by. This annoys the heck (for lack of a better word) out of me and my husband. I don't know if it's something that comes from his earlier childhood (before we brought him into our home) or what. He'd much rather play board games or torment his little brother than do any sort of school work.

This morning as hubby was looking in the boys' rooms for cleanliness (or lack thereof), he saw J's school notebook sitting in his room. Bad sign. J needs that book for all his classes. Since the notebook was here at home, we decided to look through it to see if J was following through on his promise to keep it organized - all papers in place and in their proper folders, sorted by subject. We found a Math assignment in the folder for Reading; graded papers which showed J's lack of knowledge and/or preparedness of the subject; scribbled pages; doodled papers. I know he has ADD, but he does take meds. He was recently re-evaluated and the meds do seem to be doing the trick as far as keeping him less hyper and loud, and he can stay on task when it's something he really enjoys.

The kids get out early all this week because of parent-teacher conferences. We already saw K's teacher, so today it's time to visit J's teachers. Sadly, I have to work and will be home when the kids get home, but hubby will go to the middle school and talk with all J's teachers and maybe get some advice or opinions on how to get J more focused on school.

Part of me wants to let J fail and fall deep into the pit he's been digging for himself. Part of me wants him to do that and then figure out how to get out. Another part of me wants to see him figure it out and turn himself around and be a good student. Sometimes I think a boot camp is the place for him. I don't know. Hubby and I have had numerous discussions on the topic of J's grades and lack of wanting to do well. We've taken away privileges (no Nintendo DS, no cell phone, no Wii playing) and it just doesn't seem to matter to J. We are at the point where we might put a lock on the game closet (where all the board games are), but that's not fair to K. It doesn't seem to matter to J that he doesn't have these things anymore. That's what is so irritating! What will it take for him to change his attitude? I have no idea.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Last night as I was driving K home from choir practice at church, I mentioned to him that next week his dad would have to take him to choir practice because I would not be able to. He asked why not, and I answered by saying that I would be out of town. He asked where I was going and I reminded him that I would be in Arizona. He sadly said, "Oh." He then asked, "How long are you gonna be gone?" I replied, "Just a few days." Again, he sounded so sad and he said, "Oh." I reassured him by saying, "I'm coming back. I am not leaving you forever. I will only be gone for about five days." He said, "Oh." I then told him that I would call him every day. His voice sounded surprised and he asked, "You can??" I said, "Sure I can! I can talk to you every day." He replied with a very happy "Ok!" The sadness he originally had in his voice broke my heart. I had to cheer him up. It was a total "aww" moment.

During choir practice, there were try-outs for various parts of the musical that the kids are putting on in June. K tried out for a couple parts and totally flubbed the first two tries on one part, but the third time he did it perfectly. I was so proud of him! However, when he came to sit down by me after he was finished, he was totally down in the dumps. He said, "I want to quit Praise & Company." I said, "Why? You have fun doing it, don't you?" He said, "Yeah, but I messed up and I feel stupid." I told him this: "This is your very first time trying out for something and it's normal to mess up. I am proud of you for even trying. You did just fine." He looked sad and miserable and said, "I just think I should quit." I said, "You won't know if you got any of the parts you tried out for if you just quit. Keep trying. You are doing just fine." I put my arm around him and he snuggled close and I kept telling him how proud I was of him. He seemed to forget his disappointment in himself and was able to go on with the choir practice when the try-outs were done.

This morning, hubby and I went to K's school to watch him get a Cougar Pride Certificate during an assembly. The certificates are awarded to students who have shown major improvement in school. Well, K got an award for listening to directions and basically being a good kid this past week and guess what? It has to do with him being on ADHD meds. He had his first full week of them last week and his good behavior got him an award. When the assembly was over, K came up to hubby and me and said, "This is weird. Every time you or dad come to the Cougar Pride assembly, I get an award. When you don't come, I don't get an award. You bring me good luck!" Cute!!!! The school mails out a letter to the parents in advance, letting them know their child will receive an award and informing them to attend the assembly. I'm not about to let K in on that secret!