Stories and thoughts about family and life


on January 23, 2012

I don’t remember always loving school, but I generally liked it.  I liked the social aspect of hanging out with my friends and I didn’t mind the classwork.  Well, except math.  I struggled through math.   Even still, though, I was pretty studious and I took notes, did my homework, and got the job done.  My grades were good (as expected by my parents) and I didn’t DARE tempt fate and try to see what would happen if I didn’t live up to the expectation.

I feel like I’ve failed as a parent some days.  I have struggled with a child who has a strong will and can’t be bothered to turn in his assignments.  He generally does them (although sometimes we’re not even that lucky).  He just can’t be bothered to turn them in.  It started in second grade, and he had an unbelievably poor teacher.  Third grade it got bad.  Assignments crammed in his desk, the teacher nearly pulling her hair out, and me constantly on him.  It was mostly that he was traumatized by the expectations from second grade that he spent that third grade year getting over it.  Fourth grade, our last bad teacher.  After a couple of months of trying to engage and get things done, I had enough.  Lucas was in tears every day when I picked him up, and I was constantly e-mailing and/or calling the teacher or the principle (when the teacher stopped responding).  It was making us all crazy.  By the beginning of November, we were in a new school.

Fourth grade was spent acclimating to a new environment and despite occasional issues in class, and work not always getting done, by the end of the year there was dramatic improvement.   I thought we were out of the woods.  Then came fifth grade.  Everybody said “that’s the big changeover year.”  Holy cow.   Lucas is smart.  Yes, I’m his mother, but he IS pretty smart.  So, why can’t we seem to get over this hump?

Before the holidays, in a parent/teacher conference, both his teachers remarked that he was a great kid and followed the concepts in class, but couldn’t seem to actually turn his work in.  Where Lucas has really been shining this year is band.  He’s been first chair clarinet much of the year.  He took to it incredibly well, and I’ve been amazed at his progress.   We did better with his schoolwork in December, and both teachers remarked that he’s come so far with interactions and relationships, that they were thinking he was coming out of it, and maybe it just took him a little longer to acclimate to the new school.

The first week back after the new year, we did great.  We made it about 10 days.  Then he pretty much stopped turning in homework at all.  I’ve spent the day in his classroom sitting with him.  I’ve threatened to take him out of band.  I feel like I have to check behind him and check again.or risk finding out that some assignment has been purposely overlooked.    I learned a lot sitting in his classroom the other afternoon.  I learned that his organizational skills could use some serious work, and that he needs a mechanical pencil (he spent his whole afternoon sharpening his pencil, it seemed).

Excuse my rant, but I don’t get it.  I have several mom friends right now who are going through similar things with boys the same age.  It is because they’re boys?  Is it because the school system has changed so much since my, ahem, 30 years ago?  I get that he’s not interested in the same things I was, but really??  Is it going to get better?

Is this some kind of barbaric preparation course for the teenage years?  Does it mean that if I’ve “served my time” now, that it will be better when he’s driving, or, God forbid, worse?    I get that I’m weird.  I loved diagramming sentences, for Pete’s sake.  I loved analyzing the symbolism of The Great Gatsby, and subsequently wrote my senior term paper on the subject.  I’m grateful that he is healthy, and intelligent, and I’m honestly trying to keep this all in perspective, but how close do you let them get to failure?  Should I let him actually repeat the 5th grade?  When will he learn the lesson?

Maybe it’s hormones and it’s hitting him early.  Maybe.  Maybe I’ll be insane by the time he graduates high school.  I’m watching him now, writing his study guide for his research paper (which is due Wednesday, by the way), and see that he’s writing on his paper with a carpenter’s pencil.  He even has a mechanical pencil beside him, so he has an eraser.  Maybe God is trying to teach me about flexibility.  Let’s hope so.  Maybe He’s waiting on me to turn in my homework.


One response to “Studies

  1. Chris says:

    I have always had this problem with Kawika. Though, not to your extreme. He is lazy and just doesn’t turn in the work. I don’t understand it either – I’m sure you’ve put it into perspective for him by asking him what he thinks will happen if he continues this path and you refuse to bail him out. Maybe that reality is too hard for him to grasp? Or maybe he really likes this attention from his mom – bad as it is.

    – Amateur Psychologist, C.A.W.

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