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Time to Vent

Nasty here today…sticky, warm, windy…tornado weather. Which is not quite as bad as earthquake weather, mind you.

Horrid week here at the homestead, hence the lack of posting. I work a full day, then pick the kids up from school, and start my second job as math teacher. This week is areas, volumes and conversions, relatively simple stuff. The Boychild will not even read the instructions, clearly printed on the paper in front of him. He just plunges ahead into the problems, assumes he knows how to solve them, and invariably has to go re-do them all, leading to massive frustration. He gets angry that he has to re-do the paper, I get angry because he didn’t bother to read the instructions, nor apparently paid any attention when the material was covered in class. Yelling ensues.

It does no good to speak to him of potentially failing math, causing the automatic placement in remedial math going into the 6th grade. Not even the addendum that said class is going to be full of fucktards and bullies makes a dent. It does no good to speak to him of the future, and any hopes/plans he has for it. He’s ten, almost eleven…his “future” is what’s on TV that night, or going out to the back yard to play. I do not hold to the latter too much, no ten year old knows what they want to do when they grow up, nor are they capable of processing “fry cook” as something to be avoided. They have no frame of reference, other than what we tell them, and we clearly have an agenda in his mind. What he can’t grasp is our agenda is solely that he succeeds at his current “job” which is the successful passing of the fifth fucking grade.

I have no idea what to do at this point. He does not care one whit about his performance. Doesn’t care if his homework is correct, if he’s learning the material and can do well on the test. Just wants to be done with it as quickly as possible so he can go off and amuse himself. You would think being forced to turn right around and re-do the work would flip some switch in his brain…”Hey, I’m taking TWICE as long to do my homework because I’m not doing it right…maybe I should read the instructions!” That lightbulb has no juice.

We have talked to him until we are anoxic. We have used logic, threats, bribes…I’ve even stooped to tears. (Yes, I fucking WILL emotionally manipulate my children…if you’ve never considered it then you’re not a parent.) Nothing makes an impact. I assume we’ve utterly fucked up by ever telling him he was smart, by allowing him to be placed in the Alpha program (for the SMRT kids, uses outside-the-box teaching methods, lots of logic problems). He thinks he’s smarter than anyone at that school, ergo is absolved of the requirement of learning from them. He seems to have missed the distinction between “smart” and “knowledgeable.”

So I’m honestly at a loss. I hear ads for these frickin’ places in strip malls, “we’ll teach your kid how to learn!” and they just give me the heebie jeebies. Plus, that’s an expenditure we just don’t have room for in the budget right now. Why, WHY won’t he just do the work? I myself have no frame of reference for this reluctance, I can recall nothing but doggedness when faced with school- and homework. But girls are like that I’m told, and we surely see it in the Girlchild. She’s as cheerful doing her math homework as she is playing with her animal toys. Makes it that much harder to deal with the Boychild’s recalcitrance. And no, before someone says it, I don’t think it is a competition thing between them. She, while VERY competitive, is not in this area because she’s three grades behind him. She knows she’ll never catch up, knowledge-wise, until college.

It would almost be easier if there was something actually wrong with him, if he were ADD or autistic. At least then we’d know WHY he was having the trouble, could work at it from that angle. As it is, he just seems to be a daydreamer, mentally wanders off in class, and has trouble concentrating on what he’s doing, because he finds it boring. I am (understandably, I think) very much opposed to the thought of dragging him to a head doctor and asking them to figure out what’s wrong. Nothing is wrong, he’s ten. But he has a FULL measure of both parents’ native stubbornness, and if you’ve met either of us, your eyes probably just started watering.

I suppose family members would call this “chickens coming home to roost.” To which I reply, “bite me.”