Wednesday, March 03, 2010

So, How is Annie Doing in Traditional School?

“So, how is Annie doing in traditional school?”

I’ve gotten this question a lot lately, and that’s one of the things that’s pretty stinking cool about Facebook!

The short answer is “great!” but there’s so much more to it than just that she’s doing great.  It has changed a lot about my relationship with her -- in a positive direction -- and is helping me see what a cool kid she really is.

Mired in the struggles of educating the poster child for ADHD (emphasis on the “H”), it was very difficult for me to realize her utter coolness.  I knew, intellectually, that she was awesome -- I mean, she’s a Rose, and therefore by definition is cool -- just ask the twins.  I’d hear others tell me how sweet she is, or what a great heart she has, or that she’s clever -- so, I *knew* it, but I didn’t experience it myself.  I was too caught up in the screaming matches:

“Here are your spelling words, please copy them three times each.”

“If I get this one right, I get to watch one iCarly”

“No, you simply need to do this whole sheet.”

“When Sam eats ribs she cracks me up.  She’s always hitting Freddy... that Sam, she’s so funny!”

“Annie, we’re doing spelling right now, not iCarly.” 
[child turns upside down, feet in the air, head hanging off the chair] 
“You will NOT leave this room, eat one bite, watch one iota of TV or play one video game until you write these words 3 times each.”

“See, if I take Barnabas’ tail and I tie it to Obi’s leash and then they go outside, and then can I see Sarah today, or is she not at home, cause sometimes she’s at her Mimi’s house and they have a big backyard, so, yeah, we need to just sell this house and I think that we can get one near her Mimi’s house for, yeah, about $100.”

“Write the words”

“No, I think you can do it.”


silence - [child stares at the ceiling] 
“WRITE THE WORDS” [mother slams the pencil onto the paper for emphasis] 
“When Elmo dies, can I get a dog that stays little forever, cause Alex, she has a dog and  Shay Shay is tiny and she’s never going to get big, ever, and she’s so cute and when Elmo dies I want a dog like that,”

“The words, Annie, please write the words”  [mother gives herself a time out in attempts to diffuse the situation] 
“I got my hands up, they’re playin my song, and now I’m gonna be okay!  It’s a party in the USA...”

“Seriously.  Really.  I mean I leave for, what, 30 seconds and you find your iPod?  Really?  THERE WILL BE NO MUSIC EVER AGAIN IF YOU DON’T WRITE YOUR WORDS”

You get the picture... it’s difficult to see the awesomeness through the irritation.

So, today we had a very different word experience.  I came home after work and she had done her assigned three sentences about today’s story -- an amazing feat for a child who only one month ago held an anarchist view about creative writing, in that sentences should contain only words she liked and should NOT have to have BOTH a noun AND a verb!  So, I pulled out the flash cards I made for her with her sight words and spelling words on them and with minimal struggle managed to bribe my way through them with her and SHE ACTUALLY KNEW SOME OF THEM -- MANY OF THEM, in fact!!!

So, after dolling out the promised candy prize (yes, I know, bad Mommy, but, hey, I’m conquering one thing at a time here) we snuggled on the sofa and chatted.  ACTUALLY CHATTED about her day -- about her classmates, about how Jesus wants us to love EVERYBODY, even when they cough really gross all the time -- about how compromises actually work cause when two little girls want the same one piece of paper and there is only one left and both of them really want it, it is just a fact of reality that they can’t both get what they want and since Jesus wants us to love others, and care for others, we can’t actually be happy if we get that piece of paper cause the other person will be so sad, so a compromise can help everyone not feel so sad, so maybe they can split the paper, or color on it together, or one get it this time and agree that the other gets it the next time...  you get the picture... We actually conversed.  REAL conversation.  For the first time, probably ever.  Because I wasn’t trying to get her to write something, or finish some math or glue something into her timeline book (which I STILL think is way cool and WILL be having her glue things into) and she had gotten her opportunity to express herself and all her interesting thoughts with her friends at school.

Now, I’m not saying that having her in traditional school isn’t without difficulties and won’t have it’s own set of obstacles -- it will -- but for right now, even if she doesn’t learn to read or write or add (although, baby girl GETS the whole Math thing) I’m FINALLY getting to build into her those far more important things like love, honesty, compassion... that I not only wasn’t getting to build into her while homeschooling her, but was probably    modeling the exact opposite for her because of my frustration.

Homeschooling is AWESOME.  I loved so much about it.  I believe in it.  I hope to get to homeschool her again.  I hope that LOTS of others will consider it.  It has SO much merit.  But, for right now, I know without a doubt, that we’ve made the right choice for her.  Even if it’s only for a few weeks... even if it’s for the rest of her school career... I thank God -- literally -- for every one of you who have helped mold Annie into the way cool kid that she is.  And for those of you who may not have had the opportunity to experience her, but have prayed for her and for us!

Today was a pretty flippin awesome day.

1 comment:

Denise said...

A great activity that helps children learn how to read, spell and understand sight words is playing a board game called Erudition. Game cards are categrized so children of all reading levels can play together.