Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God give me the serenity to accept the teen years

Madison is a very intelligent, bright, quick-study kind of gal.  She grasps concepts easily and is a voracious reader.  She is also L.A.Z.Y! 

When she was in public school she was always the straight "A" kid; you know...the one who never had to study for tests, but still got the 'A'.  When we began home educating, I could see that the material she was learning (or not learning) was very, very easy and she had just been gliding thru school.  It was a cake walk for her and she was not pushed to stretch her brain and see how far it could expand and what it could absorb.  Heck, she just informed me, 4 years after leaving public school, that even though she was in the advanced reading group in 4th grade, she didn't actually have to read the novel, the teacher read it to them.  Does anyone else find this more than ironic.  It was the advanced reading group...not the advanced listening group.  Heck, it wasn't even a difficult book for an advanced kid. 

My point here as I ramble is that public school teaches to the average child.  If you happen to be a student that excels or needs lots of extra accomodations, then sadly your educational opportunities will be greatly marginalized.  Sadly the outstanding educators in our system or woefully underpaid and have little respect or help in dealing with over-crowded classrooms.  There also happen to be teachers, laboring under that title that have no business in that profession.  I have seen too many who don't like kids, have little tolerance for kid antics and know not a whole lot more than their students.  For them, I think the door should hit them on their butts as they retreat from the classroom as they are giving true educators a HUGELY BAD REPUTATION.

My educational plan with Madison is to bring her to the point where college prep classes are no biggie.  She just finished reading The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, by Earnest Gaines and I want her to be able to read a wide variety of literature and be able to infer meanings, contextual clues, historical references, etc.  She is perfectly capable of doing so, but she is LAZY!  Have I mentioned that before?  I asked her to write a 5-10 paragraph composition about how the experiences of Jane, regarding social structure/limitations and historical experiences relate to our current state of racism and bigotry.

Yes, I am aware that in 8th grade, I am pushing her to link her thoughts and coherently describe them in a narrative, but she is more than capable.  Have I mentioned she is LAZY!  She brought me a decent 5 paragraph composition with an outstanding ending, but the body of the text was jumbled, hurried and full of grammatical mistakes.  When I used my all-empowering red pen, she felll into a puddle of tears.  I asked her to change this, that, use a different word here, check for punctuation, etc and I got a full-on,  foot-stomping angry teen bemoaning her fate of having a too difficult assignment.  WAAAAAAAAA

How do I get her to see that I am asking her to do more than her peers in public school, but by no means am I asking her to do anything that she is not more than capable of achieving?  Her future is so bright and she is so full of potential, I just need her to harness it and not be so damn academically lazy.  Oh, did I mention she is lazy?

Tomorrow she finishes reading another chapter in her ancient civilizations book.  It is actually a Freshman college text and she is fully capable of grasping the material, answering the questions and explaining the details of it orally very well.  How can my baby girl who is so bright and capable, be so damn lazy when it comes to her academic future?  How can I put an OLD head on her YOUNG shoulders?  God give me the ability to live thru these teen years without running away from home!!


Natalie said...

I know the teacher who teaches the gifted 8th grade English at my old school has a very specific process she uses with the kids, so that editing and corrections are expected. They do a peer edit, then turn it in as a rough draft, then turn in a final draft. Perhaps some sort of predetermined process would set the standard that she will have to rewrite once or twice?
My girls are much younger, but I've already noticed that they tend to be more compliant when something comes from a program or routine, rather than just Mom.

I have a feeling one of my girls is going to be a lot like Madison! :) Very bright, but fairly content to do the minimum- not because she is purposely lazy, but just because it is her personality. She'd rather be playing. Or talking.

Good luck! I am going to be calling you up here in a few years. I don't think I'll be able to handle those middle years!

waldenbunch said...

My now high school senior hated writing but was extremely bright. He was a voracious reader but I let him decide much of what he read (though I made him read a lot of classics, too). He hated when I corrected his work. The last two years we have used Potters School (online) and it has been the best money we've ever spent. He took English 3 last year and Advanced Comp this year and has made A's. He finally told me it was because he did better with someone else other than mom. Well, duh.

The point is he's going to seminary (undergraduate to start) and has learned how to write terrifically. I seriously didn't think he had it in him. He doesn't hate it anymore and we have a great relationship. I have not been as diligent in correcting his other work (because of 3 with RAD) but he is a self starter, confident in himself, a very amazing young adult. This is just to say that no matter how we worry our kids will find their way. I have always counted our family relationships the most important (other than God) and see in my 2 young adults amazing people that I would like even if they weren't mine. God will bless your heart for your children. It will be okay!