Parenting: Third Grade Blues

Munch is in the third grade and sometimes I feel like I’m struggling to make sure that my son is successful. Not just now but in the future. I’m trying to build a strong foundation with everything, especially math. Munch is a boy. Munch is lazy. Munch decides that he will answer what he feels like when he feels like it. Especially during assessments, quizzes or tests. If he’s not interested, he could care less.

Yep, this year has proven to be a difficult one. Multiple meetings with the teachers, emails and phone calls have all made me have to manage not just my employees but my son’s education and my son’s learning. Some days I think that I can’t do this. That I’m not cut out for this. That something has to give.

I experience the entire gamut of emotions from frustration to depression to joy at him doing something. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious. I just keep telling myself that I can’t give up. That I can’t stop pushing him, encouraging him and creating opportunities for growth. It’s exhausting.

Add to that Spring soccer, his birthday party and swim classes and you will see that I’m trying to keep him well rounded. The only saving grace is that I allow Munch to lead his scheduled activities. We do what he wants to do. He only wants to do soccer in the spring, guitar lessons and swim class. No more he says.

Okay.

However, third grade is tough. Although he’s made honor roll for the last two quarters and is on track to make honor roll this third quarter, it’s a continuous battle to make sure that he stays focused. Focus on school work. Focus on math. I’m constantly reminding him that every concept will build on the next. Reminding him that he knows it. His math grades have been adjusted because our district doesn’t allow children in grades 2-5 to fail math so he gets at least a 60.

Umm, I’m not sure how I feel about that. So, I spend extra time on math homework. Going over the multiplication table, giving extra work to build on what he’s learning in school. “Everything has a purpose Munch” is what I tell him. Sometimes he gets it. Other times he looks at me like I’m wasting his time.

Boys are hard is what I’m told. It doesn’t reassure me. I feel like I’m failing him. I asked him “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said “A scientist.” I smiled. “Science and math go hand in hand Munch. You need to understand math and its concepts to fully understand and grasp math.”

It’s the third quarter – third grade blues I’m sure, but I can’t give up on him. I’m invested in his future. I’m investing in him. I signed him up for a STEM camp with NSBE this summer. It’s a 3 week camp. Not sure how we’ll get him to and from during the 8:30 am to 3:30 pm hours, but he likes STEM. It’s FREE so it needs to happen.

Sometimes it feels like we’ll never get through it. That my life until he graduates from high school and maybe when he goes to college is all about making sure he’s focused and doing what he’s supposed to do. When will he take the bulls by the horn and want to do it on his own?

He’s been asking to go to a regular school (non French Immersion school). He doesn’t want to continue in French. His grades are great. He just doesn’t want to learn French anymore. He wants to learn in English. Should I listen to him?

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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The New School – Part 2

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

Friday comes and I am at Munch’s school volunteering all day because it is picture day. I find out by speaking with other parents who attended the meeting that their child’s teacher was also out and that there are 3 out of 4 first grade teachers on administrative leave and one third grade teacher….Munch’s teacher.

I was troubled by this because my son is at a new school and although they can’t do anything, nothing was sent home to parents. They stated that they sent letters home and the woman that I met with is the program coordinator for the school. She stated that they have a substitute teacher in his classroom now and she speaks fluent French and she believes the children will be fine.

She told me that letters were sent home. I asked her to explain how not one parent got the letter if it was sent home. She couldn’t. She informed me that she would resend the letter to me today and asked could I forward it to the parents in the classroom. I agreed to do this.

When the letter came it was dated October 11th. The day after I sent the email about the change and not receiving notification. Umm, strike one. Why didn’t you just admit that you dropped the ball and you would send something home immediately? They were playing games.

But, not trying to sound off and be aggressive and such, I politely thanked them and agreed to send. That same day Munch came home with another note detailing who the sub was and that they will test all the children to make sure that they are where they are supposed to be.

Now, I am not a patient person, but I’m trying to be because I understand that they are literally scrambling but dang it…can I get some sympathy? All of this is new to Munch and I and they are literally being inconsistent as hell with all these changes and he is just supposed to be cool with it? The only thing Munch said he liked at the school besides the principal and the music teacher was his main teacher.

I decided to relax and just keep encouraging Munch and inquiring about grades. Grades aren’t being inputted and the program coordinator has to input grades for 75 children because substitutes aren’t allowed to enter grades. This is in addition to her other duties. I get it. She’s swamped.

Does it change my opinion that they need to do what they need to do about my baby’s grades? Nope, but I’m trying to work on my patience. Literally, I am. That being said, while I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus for strength, patience and understanding with his school, I’m watching the on-line portal like a hawk to see when and if grades are updated.

My stalking the portal showed that Munch had earned a 50 on a math quiz. What the what? Really? Can you please send it home? How can I help him when I don’t know what the issue was? Well, the paper came home and it was in fact a zero. Yep a big fat 0.

Why did they give him a 50 instead of a 0 you may be asking? Because the County says that you can’t give children in grades kindergarten through third grade a 0. You have to give them partial credit. Yep, that’s bull, but I accepted it. What I didn’t accept was that it was a 4 question quiz and that boy got not one question right. Are you serious?

I had him redo the quiz and printed off some math homework for extra work. As I explained to him… your failure to apply any effort means no extras for you with electronics. It means that you will have extra math homework. It means that your free time will be spent studying and focusing on the areas where you seem to be struggling.

He’s mad, but he’ll live.

Motivational Monday Moment – 10/10/16

Okay, so I know that I’m late with my Motivational Monday Moment. I’m really late. Why? Because I’m not feeling that motivated today. I’m feeling blah! I have so many things that I’m worried about that I really just feel like saying “F*uck it, we’re all going to die someday”.

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But, that’s not in me. I’m the eternal optimist. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to believe that deep down inside we all want the same thing. We want to know that the world is inherently a good place. We want to believe in humanity.

Ugh!

Here are the three things that I’m worried about:

  1. The upcoming presidential election. I’m so tired of both candidates that I can’t wait for this circus to end. Both candidates despise each other and I’m not thrilled with either of them. One promotes rape culture and one I can’t trust. But, I will dutifully go cast my vote next month because I don’t take for granted that my ancestors died, were hosed and had dogs attack them for the right to vote. Not voting is not an option in a country where we were once considered 3/5 of a human being. But, can they both just go away until we vote? I can’t anymore!
  2. Haiti. I’m trying to figure out why this country always has some horrible natural disaster occurring and can’t seem to ever rebuild. No other island seems to suffer as much destruction as Haiti. Can the UN get together with other countries and try to figure out a way to ensure that these people have clean drinking water and a strong infrastructure? Don’t allow the Red Cross to help either, use other charitable organizations. Now, with the death toll from Hurricane Matthew over 800 and now the cholera outbreak I just can’t. So many deaths. So much destruction.
  3. Munch’s new school. So, last week Munch mentioned that he had a substitute teacher that he didn’t like. He said that he really wished Mr. N would come back. I made a mental note because I had sent a couple of emails that hadn’t been responded too and figured “oh well he must be out sick.” Well, this morning when I was checking his grades in the on-line portal (I do this every Monday) I discovered that another teacher’s name was placed there under his name and no grades had been recorded since 9/23. This was disappointing and disturbing. I sent an email to the parents in the classroom to see if they had received any emails or notices about the change and they all said no. I sent an email to the vice-principal and principal both and forwarded my emails to the new teacher. I’m now learning that his teacher was placed on admin leave (I have no idea for what) and no notice was sent home to the parents. Worse, one of the parents said that there were at least 5 teachers placed on administrative leave in grades 1-3 and we’re all worried about the same thing…how will our children fare with this disruption? What about Munch? I mean the only thing he realistically likes at his new school is his teacher. Now, that’s gone.

Woosah!

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So, I started to pray. Pray for strength, pray for understanding, pray for clarity, pray for mercy and pray for our world. I wasn’t afraid to admit that I needed help. I needed God to speak to me. I needed to know that I wasn’t losing my mind and that everything would work according to His plan.

I then logged into Bible Gateway so I can read the word and the verse of the day hit me in the face like Wham!

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future. The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

Proverbs 19:20-21 NRSV

Wow! God had spoken to me. His purpose will be established. Why am I trying to make plans on how to fix the world? It’s like that joke “Want to know how to make God laugh?” Answer: Tell him your plans.

I was trying to figure out a way to understand this mess. I didn’t need to. I needed to give it to God. Why can’t I ever just release it to God?

So, my Monday Motivational Moment is simply to “Release it to God”. All of it. We can’t control it. We can’t fix it. We simply need to release it.

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First Day of School

Today is Munch’s first day of school. He’s at a new school and I have to tell you that I was so nervous this morning. He was scheduled to ride the school bus for the first time ever. However, it didn’t show up. Apparently that is expected on the first day. Ugh! I drove him to school and had a harried morning where I tried to see if any movement has been made on the before and after care front. At this point no. So, it’s the school bus and schedule adjustments until we get him enrolled in Before and Aftercare.

I did get to meet his teacher and I liked the classroom layout. Nice desks and smart boards. The school is pretty huge. Lots of windows. The staff was very friendly and I truly felt that they were happy to see both the parents and children. That was awesome.

His dad is going to head to the school to confirm he gets on the right school bus and my mom will be there waiting for him to get off the bus. I’m praying that everything goes well. I was frazzled and stressed out this morning with the bus not showing up and trying to get the child care situation coordinated. When I left the school my car was having trouble accelerating and then I heard a loud sort of metallic noise. I drove into the gas station and asked the mechanic to please look at my car. Guess what it was? My parking brake was on. No light warned me though. I felt like an idiot. The mechanic didn’t laugh (even though I’m sure he wanted to). I need a drink.

I made sure to fix him a hot breakfast before he went to school and I packed his lunch complete with a first day note wishing him well.  My mom said that I packed him too much food that he will be an easy target for the lunch bullies. LOL. I just wanted to make sure that he had enough food for both lunch and snack.

Well, that’s my drama. Summer’s gone by fast and my Munch is now in the third grade. Here’s to a successful school year for both parents and children of returning students!