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Archive for the ‘Homework Woes’ Category

Many of my friends and family know that I have had a difficult time getting Jacob to bring up his grades at school. This has been a problem during his 7th grade year and it continued on into the 8th grade.

It is not that Jacob can’t do the work. He is very intelligent.

The problem is that he doesn’t do the work.

So, being at the end of my rope and up to my eyeballs with frustration, I created a minor stink at the school around the time that the first progress report of the last nine weeks. It really frustrated me that it was his homework grade that was bringing down his overall grades. The teacher’s have websites that are updated sporadically and I had given every one of his teacher’s (as well as the teacher’s in 7th grade) my contact information if Jacob did not do what he was supposed to do for his classes. You can imagine how I felt when I discovered, through a phone call that I made to the school, that Jacob had 7 zero’s in nearly 3 weeks in one of his classes at school. All of these zero’s were homework grades.

I will spare you the details of how I dealt with the situation, but I did deal with it because I had had enough of this school allowing my child to fail. If my child was going to fail, it was not going to be because I allowed it to happen.

I decided that it was up to me to make sure that my child learned what he was supposed to and if that meant making a few teachers mad, then so be it. Honestly, I felt that if they were allowing my child to fail even though he was an honor roll student before arriving at this school, then they weren’t doing their job. My child’s education is more important to me than any teacher that is passively sitting by allowing him to fail.

My sister-in-law decided to help. She came over and helped him with his homework and study. I emailed teachers. I stayed in constant contact with the teachers. Since he didn’t want me to create any other problems at the school and he figured out that I was serious about getting him to do his work, then he started trying to bring his grades up.

My sister-in-law and Jacob created and agreed upon a contract containing goals. They were reasonable goals and Jacob signed the contract saying that he would do what was required of him to reach those goals.

And he did.

He brought home his report card yesterday. He passed every class. He was extremely proud of himself. I was proud of him. My sister-in-law was proud of him. He worked hard the last few weeks of the nine weeks and he discovered that hard work does pay. Jacob even told his father on the phone last night that for the first time since he started going to that school in the 7th grade, he was not grounded.

I have to make sure that he has enough incentive to keep doing well in school. Our family, along with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, will be going bowling soon. Jacob told my sister-in-law that he wanted go bowling if he reached the goals that they agreed upon.

Also, Josh and I decided to celebrate his success by taking the family out to eat at the restaurant of Jacob’s choosing. I am sure Jacob will choose a really nice steakhouse–and it will be worth every penny. 😉

Have a Blessed Day!

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“Mom, I have a project due tomorrow.”

I can’t tell you how many times these words have been uttered in my house. Oh, it could be a project or it could be that tomorrow is snack day and they just have to have a drink and a snack.

And why do you find out at the last minute? Well, it is simple–they forgot.

Well, not now. I am emailing Jacob’s teachers regularly to find out how things are going. This is how I discovered that he had a project due. I thought that it was amusing that at PTC, all the other parents had no clue that their child had a project in reading and that it was due in less than a week. I felt like I had the inside scoop, because I knew about the project. Of course, if I was waiting on Jacob to tell me about then I would have found out about the project last night or at the PTC like all the other parents.

Since I had found out about the project about three weeks ago, I felt that we were on top of things but being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until yesterday afternoon to get the board that he needed to display his project. I knew that he had most of the work done and that all we needed to do was put it on the board.

Well, if you have kids and you have ever helped those kids with their school projects then you know that it is never as simple as putting it on the board. There are always school projects that do not want to cooperate with your efforts to just get them done. There is usually a snag in the process and this project was no different.

First let me say that his project was over a book that I have never read–and I have a degree in English and I felt like I read constantly during college.

I get home from Walmart with his board and the fun begins.

He didn’t get everything printed off at school. Of course, he could print it all off at home–if our printer would print.

I had to compile Jacob’s stuff and attach it in an email that I sent to myself. I went to a friends house to print the documents.

Of course, I would forget that not everyone has upgraded to Microsoft Word 2007.

I had to call Jacob and talk him through re-saving the documents in the MS Word 93-2003. Then, I told him that he needed to open his email.

He couldn’t remember his password to his email.

OK, so I told him to go to my email and I gave him my password. I walk him through creating a new message and attaching the newly saved documents. Then, I told him to press send after assuring him that you could send an email to yourself.

I waited patiently for at least 30 seconds (it was the longest 30 seconds ever) and the email never showed up. I was on the phone with my husband at this point and he told me that it would take longer than a minute to get an email. Well, as much as I pay for Internet–it should be there instantly.

Then, I realized that I could look in my sent folder. Sure enough, there was the email.

I printed off the documents, went home, and helped Jacob create his masterpiece. We were done by 9pm. Since my son has inherited his procrastinating self from my procrastinating self, then we are usually up until midnight working on project.

But not this time. I might have procrastinated with getting the board, but we were on top of the project otherwise.

I have to say that it feels good to be done with something before crunch time.

I may just have to rethink my procrastinating ways.

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I have to brag about my son a little.

My son went from being an honor roll or solid B student to barely passing when he went to Junior High. After spending most of his 7th grade year, trying to make him do what he was supposed to and failing because there was a lacking response from teachers; I decided to call the superintendent this year when it seemed that the 8th grade was going to be a repeat of last year.

This seemed to get the ball rolling. Teachers are cooperating. Jacob is doing what he is supposed to in class and he is actually doing his homework. My sister-in-law is involved trying to give Jacob a little boost. I think this has helped him more than anything, because he likes the attention he is getting from someone else other than me. My sister-in-law even made him sign a contract with goals and all. Kudos to my sis-in-law!!!

Yesterday was Pi Day at school. Pi Day is officially March 14th, but that is on a Saturday this year and it falls during Spring Break. I didn’t even know that there was actually a Pi Day.

They had a party during his math class with fun Pi Day activities that count for extra credit. Jacob desperately needed extra credit.

He created a Pi shirt. It said “I Eat π” and the back had 3.14 below his name. The shirt was simple to do. I went to Walmart and bought some ink jet printer iron-on transfers. We created the design, my sis-in-law printed it off for us since our printer is out of commission, and then I ironed it on–easy as Pi.

Jacob also memorized the following Pi digits: 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510.

He memorized those numbers in just two 30-minute memorization sessions.

Somehow, he can memorize all these numbers and regurgitate them without any problem, but he can’t remember to check his blood sugar before he eats or do his shot after eats and he has been a Type 1 Diabetic for almost 10 years.

There was also a Pi song that I gave him orders to sing. I don’t care how embarrassing it is for a 13 y/o to stand up and sing the Pi song–it was extra credit and he was doing it.

Anyway, I just wanted to brag on my son a bit. He deserves it after singing the following song in front of the class.

The Pi Song

(to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree”)

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

Your digits are unending.

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

No pattern are you sending.

You’re three point one four one five nine,

And even more if we had time,

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

For circle lengths unbending.

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We had three doctor appointments yesterday.  The appointments were a two hour drive away from each other. It was just a very long day. We were all couped up in the car together way too long. I heard “Are we there, yet?” and “How much longer is it going to be?” more times than I can count.

Sebastian had a sore throat, but it wasn’t strep. He didn’t feel too bad though. He fought with Jacob all day long. I couldn’t even separate them because they were not even sitting in the same row in the vehicle (Jacob was all the way in the back and Sebastian was in the middle row).

Samuel went for his 2 month checkup. He weighed 10 lbs 12 oz and he was 21 1/2 inches long. He is definitely growing. Makes me sad that he is not the tiny little baby anymore that I brought home from the hospital, but I get excited every time he hits a milestone. For example, he is smiling quite often now. It is the greatest feeling in the world to see your little one look at you and smile real big (for no apparent reason other than they love your face).

Then, he gets his vaccines. I hate those things. Here is my helpless baby having to get a shot and I am the one that is helping to hold his arms to keep him from squirming too much. I try to comfort him, but the crying was over as soon as I picked him up. I can’t just not do the shots like some folks do. My kid would be the one to come down with measles, mumps, or some other awful thing they get vaccinated against. Samuel was not happy yesterday afternoon. I don’t know if it was the shots or if it was a belly ache, but something was wrong. Thankfully, it did not last long…just while we were at Cracker Barrel eating lunch. 

 Jacob is 13 years old and I promise I have taught him manners, but I declare…the child eats like he has been in the wilderness without any food for a month. I told him before we went in that “we are at a restaurant so please remember your manners.” He made the biggest mess. Next time, I think I will try reverse psychology and tell him to “have at it.” Kids think parents are embarrassing so I wonder if I could embarrass him enough by showing him what he looks like when he eats like that so that he will use his manners? It’s just a thought.

Jacob’s endo appointment went well. His hA1c was 8.5, which is a blood glucose average of 195 over the last 3 months. The doctor decided to split his Lantus dose into two doses. I am really hoping that this works. I am tired of seeing higher numbers in the morning. 

My sis n law came over and helped Jacob with his homework last night. I think this is really going to be a good thing for Jacob. It seems to be working so far. I had to make Emily and Sebastian stay out of the kitchen. This seems to help Jacob stay focused. Hopefully, the teachers will have their web pages updated. It is much nicer when we (parent, teacher, kid, and sis n law) all work together. 

Now, I am sick with some kind of sinus thing. I hate going to the doctor; I have more important things to do with my time. So, I will probably battle it for a couple of weeks before finally going to the doctor.

I am so glad it is Friday. After this week, I thought the weekend would never get here.

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Let me just begin by saying that I have the best sister-in-law ever.

She came over yesterday and helped Jacob with his homework. She said that everything was calm and things were going good until Emily and Sebastian were through with their homework. Apparently, this is when the chaos began. Jacob told her that it was difficult to focus on homework when Emily and Sebastian were done with their homework. My sis n law asked him about going to his room with the door closed to do his homework. His reply: “oh, then I wouldn’t do my homework.” She told him that at least he knew that about himself. I agree. I have a feeling this honesty is what got him in trouble at school when he told the teacher that he just didn’t feel like doing his homework.

The following is an example of my “there is always a reason” rule.

Yesterday, Emily had on a sweater jacket that belongs to me . I told her to go hang it up in the closet where it belonged. A little later, I was hanging another jacket up and noticed that she just stuck the sweater in there through the hanger instead of hanging it back up.

Me: Emily. (I yell because I am too lazy to walk to wherever she might be.)

Me: (When Emily walks into the room) What exactly is this?

Emily: Your sweater.

Me: I know that it is my sweater. What exactly did I tell you to do with the sweater?

Emily: Hang it up.

Me: Is this hung up?

Emily: No, ma’am.

Me: Why didn’t you hang it up like I asked?

Emily: I don’t know.

Me: Yes, you do know. Now, why didn’t you hang it up like I asked?

Emily: Because, I was trying to hurry and didn’t want to take the time to do it.

Me: Then, please hang it up right.

Then, she commences to hanging it up and she has to own up to the real reason why she didn’t do it. Of course, if you do this then be prepared for the answers you get. Laziness is a common answer and one that I accept because, I too suffer from laziness.

Anyway, Jacob was able to complete his homework. It took him a while to do it, but at least it was done.

My sis n law told me that it was chaos in my house. She understands why I try to make schedules, chore charts, and such. I need order.

To my sis n law: Thank you for helping Jacob and for being such a great friend. Also, don’t let my zoo turn you against having kids. I want to be able to spoil a niece or nephew or two sometime in the future 😉

Note: I have finally figured out my tag line for this blog with this post!

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Me versus my son versus the school.

Yes. I know that is three players.

I want my son to do his homework, my son doesn’t want to do his homework, and I can’t tell what the school wants.

Who is going to win?

It better be me.

I have given my son his very own agenda book to write down important stuff. For example, homework and maybe even when a test is going to occur. I was going to check this against the teacher pages at his school.

It would be useful if the teachers would keep their pages updated.

Again, I am stuck taking Jacob’s word for it (again) that he is doing what he is supposed to do because I have nothing to check it against for accuracy.

I emailed all of his teachers last week and I only received a response from two (2 out of 5) teachers.

I am not discouraged.

I checked the web pages again today. Three out of five had theirs updated. I emailed the two that did not and I will email them again tomorrow if I haven’t received a response. I might even call the school, again (this is a long story that is way too long for a blog and would require a blog all of its own).

You know the saying about a squeaky wheel.

Note To Teachers:

I know that “they” say that parent involvement is down in schools. Well, this is one mom that seems to believe that teacher involvement might be down, also. No offense to all you hard working teachers out there that take their job seriously.

Therefore, if a web page is too difficult to keep up (and it might be for some of you old school school teachers), then try using a blog. It might be easier.

It’s just a thought.

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