parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Thursday, December 14, 2006
    Working themselves out
    I've been a wee worried about e. lately. There has been the issue with that boy, and then her bad grade on a project, and then the cello issue, and now she received another mediocre grade on an end-of-the-unit "assessment" (i.e., TEST!!). She received 17/24 at the end of her geometry unit. When we talked about it, she said, "well, I decided not to be upset, b/c I know I just can't do angles visually, and so there's nothing I can do about it." NO!!! You, my child, are TEN. You do NOT give up on an entire area of learning when you are TEN by throwing your hands up and closing the book on increasing and improving your abilities!!

    And then I feel torn because I am also upset that she's been choosing not to share things with me. So do I harrass and drive my point home, thereby preventing her from sharing in the future? Or do I back off, and think that things will work themselves out. She is an energetic learner, an avid reader, and in things academic, an optimistic person .... can I trust this?

    I worry mostly b/c she's in 5th grade. 5th grade was my last good year. Once I hit middle and then high school, I was a solid C student ... after being an A student for so long. I will just be MISERABLE if I see her do the same thing.

    I also worry b/c I feel she has a friend who is NOT as motivated as her ... not with homework, not with cello, not with soccer, not with softball ... and I worry that this is part of why e. is sort of slippin'. I'm really not the person who says my kids can't be friends with someone ... b/c why? B/c they're an "underacheiver?" (according to nothing but my own judgment). Nonetheless, I was trying to think of what I could do ... encourage friendships in other directions was the only thing I could come up with. Really super-subtlely. As if I have ANY CLUE how to do that.

    But then today, e. came home complaining of constant arguments with this person. Wondering aloud how she can start to develop friendships in other directions without ruining her little "group" of friends that she is comfortable with.

    Then, at dinner, she wanted me to draw angles for her, so she could make guesses at how many degrees they were.

    I realized another thing - I have backed off too far from overseeing her homework and her curriculum. This has been a huge year as far as the kids being more independent. Teachers are purposefully involving us parents less, and in some ways, I've been relieved, but I think I've rolled a bit too much with it. I need to have a closer eye. I should have known that she was having trouble with geometry before the end-of-unit assessment grade came back.

    I'm so used to her having zero struggles.

    But now she's doing fractions, decimals and percentages. I can help with that. I can keep my eyes open, and be as involved as possible.

    And I am determined to do just that.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 7:26 PM  
    • At Friday, December 15, 2006 1:05:00 AM, Blogger Yorick said…

      (If you don't want to approve this comment, I totally understand.) I can be reached at if you want to reply in private.)

      I'm not a parenting expert, nor do I have children, so take these questions with a grain of salt the size of Madagascar. I don't know you, nor your parenting methods. So, please don't take this as any kind of disparagement on your part, because I don't know anything to disparage.

      That said, is basketball, softball, and cello all happening at the same time? Perhaps she's feeling a bit overwhelmed. Maybe she thrives on it; I really don't know. But I could see how it might be possible for her to feel like she's doing too much, even if she doesn't realize it. Ten year olds (like all humans) have problems expressing internal struggles. Perhaps the angle thing was a symptom of that burden. Once again, I don't know- this is just wild speculation from a totally non-expert blogger. But it is curious that a normally achieving ten-year old would initially throw in the towel so easily.

      Her friendly attachment to the non-motivated individual might also be a manifestation of that feeling. I've learned from teaching that adolescents often see things in absolutes- it's either one end of the spectrum, or the other. IF she's feeling overwhelmed (I just don't know) it would be a natural response to be attracted to a carefree existence.

      I wouldn't even be so vain as to propose solutions to this hypothetical quandary- I just thought you might want to know a possible viewpoint on what could easily be an imaginary position.

      Once again, please don't hate me. Just trying (in my awkward and fumbling way) to perhaps help.

    • At Saturday, December 16, 2006 12:04:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      [i responded to this comment yesterday, and it never showed up. blogger's getting on my nerves.]

      Not at all offended. She is only doing cello right now - softball was in the spring, and soccer in the fall. Cello's year round. She was doing 2 plays in the start of the year (they overlapped by about 2 weeks, each was an 8 week endeavor), and soccer was at the same time. I was worried then that she was overwhelmed - but at that time, she was doing fabulously with her school work, getting A's and check-pluses all around. While working VERY independently.

      Which I htink is what led me to think she'd be fine all year.

      Also - E. is VERY black and white. She has always been especially so about Math. Her 4th grade teacher understood that to e., the slightest difficulty, and up went the brick wall. Her theory as to the reason was that everything comes so easy to e., that it's a foreign feeling for her when something doesn't.

      Ever since multiplication first was introduced (in 2nd grade, in CA), she's been saying "I can't do math"

      Yet her MCAS scores come back with her scoring as "advanced" and in the 95th percentile, with only partial answers wrong.

      She CAN do math, she just freezes up with it for some reason. So much got better last year, b/c she memorized (truly) her multiplication tables, and it's stuck --- but this geometry unit was something new, and I should have watched closer.

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