Monday, August 16, 2010

The clarity after the storm

OK, so ranting on the blog probably wasn't the best idea, but it was that or yell at the kid, and since I try not to do that (note I didn't say I succeed all the time, but I do TRY), I figured this was safer.

We got through math. I knew we would; it was just a matter of time. The frustration level was just overwhelming. He finally worked through all the problems and got different answers, which was all I was looking for in the first place. He got two right and still had two wrong, so we did the last two together, and I put away the math. He flew through writing and spelling so quickly I think his pencil sizzled (and did it all accurately!), and asked if he could read his history book in the car on the way to the meeting. How could I argue with that? So he got to play. I was very glad, and so was he.

I also realized I forgot to mention that there are days when I'll hand him a sheet with an entirely new concept, and he'll ace it. He'll get all of them right or miss only one or two! That's how I know he does know the material. I'm really not just dragging him along. Truly. And I don't make him do the sheets for the purposes of tedium. He does one sheet, and if he passes that (I don't give grades, but I do work out percentages and aim for 80% or better), he gets a review sheet that has the new material plus some of the old. Once that is passed, we move on. Sometimes I give the tests because, again, if he wants to go to "real school," he needs to be able to take a test. So it's not a horrid process; I just want him to show mastery of the material so that I'm *not* dragging him along and moving too quickly. It just seems like it drags because on the days when he doesn't focus, we can't move forward. I have to re-teach anything he doesn't understand, and we start over again. I limit math to 45 minutes per day (usually... today was an exception because he literally hadn't done anything other than squirm) so he doesn't get bogged down on one sheet, but at the same time there's no pressure to hurry up and finish because there's always another day.

I'd happily entertain ideas to help him focus. I have a few that I've used in the past, but these days he seems to focus on *those* rather than the task at hand. The graph paper has helped - I just implemented that last week - but I am happy to add something else if it helps. Any thoughts?

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