Today is the last day of the current grading period and I am anxiously awaiting an email from the Accelerated Reader (AR) program telling me that MonoBoy passed an AR test and will pass his English class.
Mama-at-her-wits-end, say what?
How, I ask, HOW did we get to this point? Last year, in the 7th grade, this kid was selected to sit for the SAT as a part of Duke University’s Tip Program and this year we are worried about passing? Oh, how far we have fallen.
And can’t get up.
There are many things in my life that cause me stress. My job. My family. My finances. MY EX. But none of those things set me off like a kid with bad grades. Trust me on this one. I’m practically twitching RIGHT NOW.
Our school has this thing that allows parents to log in and keep tabs on their kids’ grades. It’s called Parent Self-Serve, or otherwise known as, My Worst Obsession. I literally log in a gazillion times a day to see if any new grades have posted. I also set the program to notify me by email when the boys get a grade on an assignment that is lower than a 70. MonoBoy must HATE that option. You see, the email usually arrives in my in-box while I am sitting in my car in the parking lot waiting to pick him up from basketball practice.
It’s sad really. Sometimes he forgets and bee-bops to the car. As soon as he spots my face, he stops dead in his tracks like a deer after opening weekend in November. Other days, he knows. I know he knows because he stalls and he’s usually the last one out of the building. I keep waiting to hear someone yell, “Dead Man Walking!” as he walks the green mile to the car.
At the beginning of the year, I attributed his struggle to the significant number of absences he had in the spring during the Mono Era. He must have missed some essential building blocks. Maybe he got out of the study habit. We rallied. We studied. I hugged. I encouraged.
At this close of the third grading period, I’m not buying it. His room is completely void of anything electronic. Although, that’s not really much different from the last two grading periods. Each time, I take everything electronic away for the last two weeks while he buckles down and reads. He’s managed to eek by with decent grades on his report card both periods, so I released the ban. Rewarded him for his efforts, hoping that he would keep it up.
Not. This. Time.
Don’t worry. I’m not asking him to build his own rocket ship to get to the moon. I’m enlisting the help of professionals for that. Next week, he will visit Sylvan Learning Center for testing. I want to know why I have been forced to scream for the last 18 weeks and forced to put a kid on house arrest. Is it a confidence issue? Is it a learning block issue? Is it a I-hate-my-mother-and-want-to-see-her-institutionalized issue? Inquiring minds want to know.
(At least this mind does. Right now I’m not sure his mind wants to know anything at all.)
Someone mentioned to me earlier this week (when I started ranting to anyone that would listen) that I’m going to feel really bad if it turns out that something it is physically wrong that’s keeping him from succeeding in school this year.
Sure, I will feel some guilt. I always do. I felt guilt after I found out that he had mono and I had been forcing him to go to school. But I will feel WORSE if I just let it go by. Let him think that these grades are acceptable. Let him think that this was beyond his power to correct. It’s not.
My sister grew up struggling through school. Her learning disabilities weren’t discovered until very late in her scholastic career. She and my mother fought about it. She and I fought about it. She graduated and my mother made it clear that college was not an option for her. It was a requirement, just the same as it was for me. Her accomplishment of it was just greater than mine.
And that is what I expect of him. Life is full of road blocks. It isn’t fair. Dad’s come and go. People get sick. Mom’s go a little nutty. But life isn’t going to count for anything unless you try. Really try. You can’t accomplish your dreams without effort.
Especially since the alternative is “DEAD MAN WALKING!!!” (Whether it’s him or me.)