Friday, June 03, 2011

The Lowest Grades Contest

Apparently my children have gotten together and decided to have a lowest grades contest this year. I won't tell you who is winning, but there are three serious contenders. Summer school is on the horizon for several of the kids and I'm wondering how I should have handled the school year.

Most of them have supports set up at school. Some do their homework and don't turn it in. Others refuse to bring it home. And I think they are getting too old to drag them through.

Jimmy is going to graduate -- but only because his expectations were fairly low, he had an IEP, he's been in the work program the last two years, and the school was quite motivated to have him be done. A 19 year old who can be described as nothing other than naughty isn't all that fun to have in class I can imagine.

I'm wondering if there are those of you who are still fighting battles with kids 16 and above trying to get them to do homework and, if so, if you're winning the battle. I think Bart and I just have figured that if they aren't motivated by this point, and they are oppositional, that getting into it with them is a waste of energy. Love and Logic parenting says it's on them -- the consequences are natural, etc, but for a couple of people who freaked out over a B and never turned in assignments late enough to lose points from kindergarted to post-Master's degrees.... well you can see how much it drives us crazy to watch it happen.

This is one of the things I have learned about God through my parenting -- to sit back and watch my kids fail... loving them as much as I do... and having them refuse my counsel and advice... sounds like God's experience with me.

I'm so grateful that He hangs in there with me.

For the first time I'm actually counting the days until school is out -- because the pressure over my head -- whether it's pressure I feel the school places on me -- or pressure that I place on myself -- to MAKE my kids do well in school -- is driving me crazy. I can't make them do anything.

Some of you have been out for a while -- we have 5 more days. And I'm counting. And it looks like the prize for the lowest grades contest is going to be graduating a year later than his class....


Donna said...

Zach's goes online and they are done on the 8th--
We have been fighting all school year about getting work done ( he is only 11 ) he managed to get through to the next grade but it has been a daily battle.

His homeroom teacher said it was time to let go and if he wants to be that type of student then there is nothing I can do.
Not always sure that fits for someone with "special needs" his brain overloads and he shuts down

I look forward to a break to all the fights

DynamicDuo said...

we're counting days as well, actually the girls started counting down the days Jan 1, (cuz that's when the new calendar went up)
We gave the homework battle back to the school a couple years ago. Our girls both have IEP's and resource room help. By the time they get done with a day of school they are "brain" done. They haven't brought any finished work home for the last couple of months, normally they are proud to show us their work - I was informed by one that she is tired of being proud of herself.
We don't put much weight on grades, we try and look for progress - even if it is slight - most of what the girls do at school is accomplished with the help of para's, very little is life skill orientated.
They start the work program this fall and will still have math and english and speech. Had one therapist tell us to let them fail, it's on them etc... only our girls at that time wanted to succeed but simply couldn't. You'll have to weigh the value of the lessons and the abilities of the child. We feel we have hit our high point and are on a plateau now, when you can only comprehend at a 4th grade level - 10th grade expectations are way too hard for them. They had discussed with us keeping the girls in school possibly until age 21, but the stress of school is not healthy for anyone, we're going to have them graduate with their classmates and then go from there. Ours are described more as "sweet but naughty" ;0)
For your kids that are non IEP and have the actual skills... we'll they can play catch after school, my nephew worked for a year realized he should've done things differently and will start at tech college with a program that will help him catch back up and get him back on track, now he wants to be a teacher. gotta love it

Kathleen said...

These days, pretty much we let school handle school, because we have assigned the academic responsibility to the school system, and we work on the things that we figure are still OUR God-given responsibility - we work on the relationship, and the basic, basic, emotional and self-regulation stuff. Cuz w/out that, the other stuff ain't gonna happen anyway.

Kathy said...

I have a 15 year old who could be in that lowest grade contest. I'm just glad this school year is over. It's been our roughest one yet. Since January my son has been suspended at least once a month for skipping school. (He's always on school property...just never in class) Earlier this week he had to go to truancy court. The day after court he ran away.
I'm exhausted. Mentally and Emotionally.

Lisa said...

We ended up pulling a few of our kids out of school and "tried" to home school them (I say try because I seem to be doing all the work here and is is NOT fun) when it became apparent that they either did not qualify for many, if any, services or they were drowning, but not learning from, the social aspects/challenges of school. I can't say it was the right thing to do because it has so far driven us crazy and while they aren't seeming to accomplish much, if anything, at home, they are doing about the same amount as they did in school and don't have all of the behavior issues due to the stress of a system and expectations that are way over their heads.

My 18 yo went to parochial, charter, public and home schools (including home school groups where I wasn't standing over here every minute). She didn't officially finish a single high school class. Would that count as the lowest grades ever - all incompletes? It makes me nuts dealing with the schools and their expectations of ME to force kids who couldn't care less about learning to do their homework. We have heard every excuse under the sum. I had one child who did every bit of work and didn't turn a bit of it in until a week after the end of the marking period (I can't believe the teacher even accepted it). She ended up with a D in the class (not passing at that school) and when I got on her about not turning things in on time her response was, "Well, I eventually turned everything in and the teacher marked me down for lateness. Yes, that paper was 100% to start out with, but after she marked it down to a 30% for lateness I still got 30% to add to my grade which is better than a zero". Eegads, with logic like that I'm surprised they can find the refrigerator!

It makes me sick to think of all the kids who live in areas with failing school systems who truly want an education and compete for spots in better districts. Some of my kids truly have no interest in learning whatsoever, and others only want to learn about what interests them - period. I have no answers. I try to avoid anything about my two youngest kids in school because I am so traumatized by the last decade of trying to force education down my kids throats which is really unfair because my 1st grader had his last day yesterday and he made honor roll every marking period this year with 1 B and 6 A's each time. I wish I had answers.