How to Train Your Dragon
Posted by Casey
Baby girl is T-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-CKED.
Yesterday, she came home with a test sporting a…less than satisfactory…grade. In big red ink.
We’re fairly lenient with the schoolwork. C (or, “average,” if you’re not familiar with letter grades) is acceptable as long as they studied—and especially if I’m sure they know the material. Sometimes the test questions are difficult to understand as written, even for me. I re-word the question, and if the child can answer, we move on.
Two years ago, I had concerns that report cards would never include A or B grades. I was wrong (and I’m thrilled). We don’t mind average grades, but we want them to feel successful. The kids have both had recent academic success as the educational pieces fall into place in their brains. We’ve had opportunities to celebrate both B (“above average”) and A (“excellent”) this year.
“D” grades (“below average”) are indicative of a few possibilities:
- ineffective studying
- distracted during testing
- limited understanding
Whenever the kids bring home any grade D or lower, I request a clean copy of the test questions. The kids study with me again and retake the test at home (not for a grade, but to be sure they’ve retained the information). Sometimes our guy can rattle off all the answers before our study session (and the teacher verifies he was distracted by a fly zipping and dive-bombing throughout test time).
His batlike hearing is a “gift” of trauma; his body is always on alert. It is a detriment in so many ways. He hears—and is distracted by—everything most others tune out. The fly. Fluorescent lights buzzing. The TV upstairs at bedtime. Raindrops hitting a window. Me, solitary in the pantry, wrapper in hand. “Hey, is that chocolate? Can I have a piece?”
On the other hand, he heard two separate leaks in our house and saved us thousands of dollars in potential damage, so…two sides to every coin.
Once we determine the underlying cause of the D, the child, teacher and I work together to help sinking grades rise to C level. (Nerd joke, sorry.)
F (“failing”) is another situation.
Because when our kids tank a test, it’s SPECTACULAR failure.
A failing grade means one of two things:
- didn’t bother studying
- didn’t bother trying
and neither is an option at our house.
To solve the “didn’t study” issue, their teachers now send a group text to parents showing the test calendar so we can prompt the kids to read their notes.
Group text means that either
- other children have the same issue, or
- they don’t want to make us feel bad, so they send it to everyone.
I like to pretend it’s #1.
Our girl decided she didn’t need to read her notes but told me she’d studied enough. I took her word for it (stop rolling your eyes).
Then the test came home.
I found out she hadn’t studied.
The children’s teachers require them to spend at least 15 minutes reading every day during homework time. This morning, I informed our girl that she would need to spend that time reading her notes instead of her usual fiction.
“I have to spend that time reading a BOOK. The reading teacher said so,” she steamed.
“Well,” I said, “if you can show me that you learned all the information on your study guide on Monday, you can read fiction the rest of the week.”
She glared at me and snapped, “I can’t learn it ALL in 15 minutes.”
I could feel my frustration bubbling higher. My goal this month is to react less to her antics, since we know she’s looking for attention (and seems to prefer negative). Whooooooooosahhhhhhhhh
She continued to argue her point as we loaded up for school. I stayed silent as she complained. Finally, she said, “Well, they’re not going to like that AT ALL.”
“Who won’t?” I wasn’t sure what she meant.
“The School. They said we have to read a book for 15 minutes each day. They won’t like it when I tell them you won’t let me read books.” Smug smile.
I recognized the you-know-nothing tone she used. I was a snotty-attitude-thinks-adults-are-idiots-pre-teen once, myself. This didn’t help.
Breathing, I soothed the inner dragon back to Komodo size.
“You’re right.” I smiled.
She looked up, shocked. “I am?”
I nodded. “Yes, you definitely need to have your reading time. I shouldn’t interfere with what your teacher requires. Instead of replacing your reading time, we’ll just add 15 minutes of studying each day you’re assigned homework. You can read your notes for a quarter hour AND still read your books. Problem solved!”
Eyes narrowed, she said, “I don’t like that plan.”
By this time, I didn’t even have to pretend to be cheery. “Oh, but you argued so well for keeping your reading time. And I’d hate for the school to be upset…so I think this is perfect.”
She crossed her arms. “But…that’s like…a HUNDRED AND TWENTY MINUTES.”
I tried not to laugh (I did, really). “Perhaps we need to add math practice.”
She grunted and gave the seat in front of her a little kick, then turned to glower out the window.
“So,” I said, “what can you learn from this morning’s discussion?”
She muttered something, then said louder, “that I hate science and I don’t care about the solar system so I shouldn’t have to study them.”
“That I hate studying and I’m mad.”
I shook my head. “No, but great job identifying your emotions. Actually, what you’ve learned this morning is that arguing with your Mama will not end well for you and you probably shouldn’t do it.”
By this time we were in the queue for drop-off in front of the school.
She grumbled out the door, followed by her brother.
Rolling down the window, I called, “Love you guys!”
He echoed back. She ignored me.
Ahhhhhh, pre-teen life.
And we’ve got at least seven more years of hormones ahead of us.
Please, if you have any secrets for surviving the teen years, share below.
About CaseyAdoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at Hypervigilant.org - we're in this together.
Posted on February 3, 2016, in Adoption, Blogging101, parenting, Writing101 and tagged adopt, adopted, adoption, dragon, families, grades, hormones, parenting, school, studying, teen. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.