Saturday, December 8, 2012

On the Road Again ( Moving Forward)

Could it be possible that Ryan was both underchallenged at school academically  and overchallenged socially at the same time?

She is zooming through her maths books.  Little bitch.  She told me she hadn't had all this before.  She told me - after two weeks of taking the testing - that she didn't need to go on because the rest was new.  She's repeatedly told me she doesn't know fractions to decimals.

And yesterday she was whizzing through it so fast she finished the entire one week section in twenty minutes. 

All of a sudden she tells me she's had it before.

She just finds it boring.

"Was the work at school harder for you?"


"Did you finish it this quickly."

Uh huh.   (Itching to get her head back into her horse book.)

"What did you do when you finished this quickly?  Was there more?"

No.  I had to wait for all of the other kids to finish.  I did a lot of sketching.

Ryan lives in her own world.  I don't know if this is true or if this is just how she saw it as true.

But all I get is that she was spending most of her time at school waiting for other, slower students to finish, that she was stuck in reading groups especially with students she considered so remedial that she didn't even bother trying anymore.  She really seems to have resented the slowness of the other students.

(This is in total contrast to Germany where it didn't seem as if she could keep up.)

Andrew, on the other hand, came home with this terms maths tests.  He's done really well.  His class at his new school seems to be working at a level higher than Ryan's class at their old school.  He hasn't placed into the Gifted and Talented program because he is just catching up on all the stuff he has been missing for two years.

This child started off two years ago two years ahead of his classmates.  And was so underchallenged he began a new school behind academically.

I'd say he is struggling to catch up but he isn't struggling at all.  He loves it.  He soaks it in and can't wait to learn something new.  He is totally confident in his abilities to do the work.  He just hadn't been presented with it before. 

And the twins.  Oh thank God we got them out when we did.  They fall all over themselves to tell me what they have learned every day.

I don't know why we think that children don't have the right to surround themselves with better people.  Adults don't have to put up with people exposing themselves or touching them or smacking them on the ass in the workplace.  If someone punches you or repeatedly threatens you outside of school you call the police.

We say we want our children to get along with everyone, not just coddled rich kids in private schools.  But the kids my children were being exposed to - and their behaviours - aren't ones that I would ever want them to have to deal with as an adult.

Why do I feel like a snob for expecting something better from myself and my children?  And for doing something about it.

I was told Andrew wasn't all as gifted as I thought he was.  Uh.  Fine.  Then what does it say about your school when he could easily do the work of the grades two years above his?  And leaves two years later known as the smartest kid in the school (this from the 7th years we meet) and is barely working on par for the standards expected at the school just down the road?  Another state school, not private.

You are who you surround yourself with.  Especially in the formative years when you don't know yourself yet.  Is it cool to lift up the girls' skirts when they walk by?  Is it funny to see someone else's privates? 

Or is it maybe even more exciting to find out that you are able to read chapter books without pictures?  And learn about the Leaning Tower of Pisa?  And sing Christmas carols.

The boys are fine.  But I am still scared at how close I let them come to being less than what they are capable of.

Ryan?  Hmmm.  I don't know.  It's going to be a long journey.  Does she have a cognitive processing disorder?  Somehow I doubt it.  The points don't fit as well as the Aspergers signs.  But I am willing to give it a go.  She could have both.  And some days - like yesterday afternoon - I don't think that she has either, that she is just a kid who got beaten down into assumed inadequacy, gave up and withdrew inside herself.  Depression is a bitch.  Even if you aren't aware you have it.

Yesterday she not only breezed through the maths but was excited to spend the evening at the shops looking for bathing suits and meeting friends of ours for icecream.  She was like a giggling teenager.  For the first time.  Ever.  She smiled at her friend and pranced and giggled instead of standing next to her awkwardly not really knowing what to do. 

Then again, earlier in the afternoon I left her sketching Christmas cards on the kitchen table while I put Ian down for his nap and blogged for an hour and a half.  I didn't check on her.  When I came out there wasn't one card done and she was on the couch happily going through old horse magazines from Germany,

I could have killed her.  Except she WAS reading in German!  (Listen, she'd be reading it in Chinese if it had a picture of a horse on it!)

And the other day I took fifteen minutes to do dishes and found out her on my bed reading her horse book when she was supposed to be online doing maths.

It's more than disobedience.  It's an inability to continue something on her own, a disability that would have been masked at a school where the teachers have to continually keep the whole class on target.  It's an inability to plan the day's events:  flute, math, write a story, sketch a Christmas card.  An inablility to start, continue or finish anything without me right there beside her pushing her along.

And again, and absolute lack of interest in just about everything.

Ryan will be fine too.  I have my working list of differentials:  cognitive disorder, Aspergers or just plain assumed inadequacy.  The last is probably the saddest but also the one we should eventually be able to work our way out of. 

If I don't kill her first.

And so I end the term - and the school year - at peace instead of angry.  I hated the move.  I resented having to move. 

But all four of my kids are on the path they are meant to be on. 

And moving forward.

Which leads to me to wonder could a homeschooling mother be both underchallenged academically and overchallenged socially in her new role?!

You betcha!  


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