Monday, March 26, 2012

A New Phase - And More Of My Brain Cells Die With It

One of the final assignments in my son's LEAP workbook was all about mathematics, full of the type of multiple-choice queries he'd been working on for the past few years in his enrichment courses - only he'd had to work on similar-type questions for the past couple of months.

"Moooom, can I take a break?" he asked me a few questions into the assignment.

"How many questions have you completed?" I asked.


"How many more do you need to do?"

"Ummm..." he mused, then counted what he had left. "Eleven."

"Do three more and then you can take a break." I said.

The kid reacted as though I were imposing some sort of exquisite torture on his most sensitive body parts. And, of course, I probably was participating in a form of torture by acquiescing to the boredom that, for him, was seemingly endless studying for the state standardized test.

What's even more insane is that he doesn't take the damned thing until NEXT SPRING.

I'll admit, there have been many changes for me recently. I'm a few months into a new job, ending an old one (but staying kind of on tap in case it picks up again) and fine-tuning getting back on antidepressants I thought I could do fine without (I can't. I just can't.). In the middle of all my mishegoss comes the latest phase in my son's development: turning up his nose at what little homework he has, giving the nine-year-old equivalent of the finger to some increases in that homework - like the LEAP language, math, and online work - and all of this getting mixed up in the blender that is his ADHD.

He forgot to do LEAP assignments twice in the past few months. Both times he was made to write a note home to me that he willfully forgot about it - both notes were signed by his teacher AND the school principal, and I was supposed to sign the notes and return them to school. Call it the effects of my depression and anxiety that haven't been fully neutralized by the Effexor yet, but I was furious.

Do you really want the schools here to improve? Do you support the current high-stakes testing reforms? Then think long and hard about this: the career of my son's very, very good teacher, the careers of many other teachers in the school - indeed, the very life of the school - depends on the brains of 9-to-10-year-old children like my son and how well they react to the mind-numbing exercises the little guy has been trying to avoid for the past few months.

I'm tired of yelling at him. I'm tired of giving him Concerta just to get him to do his work (it tends to clear his mind a little more, which simply helps him work out craftier ways to try to avoid doing it). I want to shove this exam and all of the prep that is being imposed on these children someplace where the sun doesn't shine - but Louisiana gives no public school parents an option to get their children out of taking it. We're not flush enough to go for private school and I'd no doubt be institutionalized trying to homeschool him.

So I worry. I worry that this kind of "study" will get him hating school for life. I worry about the kids who will have to endure testing in second grade (it's coming). And I worry about something else...

I posted on Facebook recently how frustrated I was with the attitude the little guy had with his regular schoolwork of trying to skate by on doing it, but with expending as little effort as possible in the doing.

Dan's sister replied on the thread, "Sounds like Dan as a kid."

Great. I'm living with two ADHD people in the same house. No wonder I need medication to cope.