Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preparing for teacher meeting

I've spent the last hour or two preparing to meet with Dylan's teacher in the morning.  I'm not really nervous yet.  Actually, I feel pretty good about it.  For one thing, it will be short.  The meeting is at 7:20pm, and school starts at 7:45am.  For another, I don't have a problem with the teachers, although they need to know about Dylan and we need to communicate often.

My problem is becoming the school.  He needs more than what he gets in class.  He's not understanding his schoolwork and there's no help for that.  Instead, he gets recess detention for not completing his homework...yet it takes all evening.  That has to stop.  I get that other kids complete their homework and the unfairness of someone being permitted to not be punished for not doing it.  But it's not that he's just not doing it.  He's doing it and doing it and doing it, and he isn't getting it.  That's not the same thing at all.

So on Wednesday, I'll meet with the 504 coordinator.  Not looking forward to that for various reasons.  For one, her answer is just take him out of French immersion.  But it's just not a French vs English issue.  If so, my efforts would to teach would work at least half the time and we'd be set.  But there's something not getting through.  And he's having issues in English-based subjects, too.

I'm ready.  I think.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pay Attention

It's such a simple request. 

A mom to her son:  "Pay attention! Get your homework done."

A teacher to her class:  "Pay attention! What I'm teaching will be on the test."

A wife to a husband:  "Pay attention!  There's lots of traffic today."

It sounds so simple.  But it can be the same as telling someone with a zero bank balance:  "Pay your bills!"  When there's nothing, or almost nothing, there, it's virtually impossible.  How do you pay (and why, for that matter, does the expression involve payment) attention when you just don't have any attention left?

I've been thinking a lot about this as I've mentally prepared for this school year.  Dylan's teacher last year was so good.  He didn't "get" ADHD at first, but he learned.  But the education process has begun again, and I don't know how it will go. 

Will I keep my cool?

Will I explain it in the way it needs to be heard? 

Will I be surprised by a veteran teacher who maybe does get it because she has seen it all too often. 

I don't know yet.  But I can tell you one thing - I'll be paying attention.  Even if Dylan can't.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm a nervous wreck

Tomorrow is the first day of fourth grade and I'm a nervous wreck. 

It's a big year.  Major testing.  More tests.  More homework, that now will be graded.  More expectations.  And I don't feel Dylan is ready for all of that. 

It's not that I don't have faith in him.  I do.  He's the most creative, imaginative kid I know.  But it takes him half an hour to write one short sentence that you can barely read.  After 15 minutes hunting and pecking on the keyboard he's tired and wants to give up. 

Medication will help, I know that.'s all so trial and error, and far, far from perfect.  His social worker said yesterday how much he has enjoyed talking to Dylan this summer when he's been off of meds.  He feels the meds deaden his personality.  Who wants that?  But having tried to help Dylan do his summer homework, I know he can't survive school without them.  It's an awful predicament; an awful Catch-22.

To make matters worse, I did something stupid.  I ordered school supplies for the wrong grade!  How it the world I could have done that, I don't know.  If I had done it and then realized it later, okay, I could've understood that.  But I kept going back to the third grade list.  At least 4 or 5 times! 

Also throwing me for a loop - he does not have the teacher we were planning on.  I don't know yet if this is a good or bad thing.  In a way it's good because Dylan was anxious about the teacher he thought he had.  This at least transfer that anxiety away for now. 

I remember fourth grade as one of my very best grades.  Mrs. LaCau was an awesome teacher who recognized my gifts and fought for me to get into "major works" in 5th grade.  She encouraged my love of reading and helped me to love learning.  I want that so much for Dylan.  But it's all so different now!  This crazy testing culture and the speed ball pace of everything! 

I know that there will be good and there will be bad.  But for now, I'm a nervous wreck.  I even had a bad dream last night. 

Fingers crossed.  Here we go.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Summer Recap

I've been neglecting the Argonne Chronicles.

It's certainly not because there's been nothing to chronicle.  In fact,there's probably been too much.  Every day has seemed just a bit too full, so that at the end of the day, I've only had time to tumble into bed.  Even the weekends have been full.  However, I think I'll steal a page from one of my very favorite blogs of all, The Dao of Doing, and do a bit of an update based on what's been good and what's been not so good.

What's been good
  • Dylan and I have done some fun things like attending the City Park Friend's Night at the Carousel Garden and seeing the new Winnie the Pooh movie, which unfortunately didn't live up to the very first one, IMO. 
  • In fact, he's done some fun things that I helped get him to, like a party at Bounce Spectrum, a visit to the zoo's new Cool Zoo splash park, and I took him and his friend to laser tag
  • RockStar and I got to see Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Okay, that was sort of a sad thing - I cried to think that this was the last one.  Harry and his classmates have become like friends. 
  • I had my book club at my house for a lively discussion of The Help.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it!  Definitely thought-provoking.
  • I finally got a new assistant at work.  I had four wonderful candidates - I just hope I made the right decision.
  • RockStar will be getting a weekly paid gig playing in a church band.
What's been questionable
  • I finally got Dylan started on his summer schoolwork.  Although there have been some good times reading, there have been even more times with me struggling to get him going.  It makes me dread the start of school. 
What's been not-so-good
  • My mom's been diagnosed with bone cancer.  The plus is that she has been pretty upbeat, which is unusual for her.  What I'm not sure is whether I can make a trip up there, especially if I can arrange it to bring Dylan.
  • The pastor nominating process at our church is at a crossroads and we are having a hard time getting past it, when we really need to get on with it and hire a new pastor.
  • Although I'm happy with Dylan's medication vacation, we have had some major melt downs.  Sometimes it really affects my day and makes me feel like a bad mom.
  • I'm definitely feeling over-committed.  Church, work, Dylan, the house, meals, etc.  I am struggling to keep up and haven't had any good quality me time.  
The latter piece may make it hard to keep up with the blog, which is sort of a shame since I really would like to keep it up.  I've ad some ideas about things that would be good to write about.  I hope to try for shorter, perhaps serialized pieces that won't take as much of a commitment.