I bragged about how well the week was going, and just like that, it all went straight down the crapper.
That's how Murphy works, kids. Never, ever tempt the Fates.
Anyway, the boy lost all interest in doing schoolwork on Wednesday and just recently, at 3:38 p.m. on Friday, finished his work for the week. He could've been done by 10 this morning, which would've given us time to go to our monthly art club meeting, out to lunch with friends, and possibly even to our weekly homeschool group meeting, but at 9:30 he was playing with the settings on the clothes dryer for no good reason other than to hear the machine ding and at 10 he was firmly ensconced on his beanbag, sulking because he hadn't studied his poem that he chose for memorization.
Suffice it to say this morning was quiet. I didn't even bother to fight with him. That takes too much energy.
I sat down with him for a chat sometime around 11:30, after he managed to finally read the science assignment (read a few pages from a book… took him all of 8 minutes once he decided to do it) and work on his poem.
I asked him if, perhaps, leaving the house and changing venues would help him, wondered if perhaps getting out for a little while might give him the opportunity to stop thinking about school so that he'd get a break and be able to re-focus when we came back.
He said he didn't think it would help. (I tend to agree.)
I asked him if he wanted to take his school stuff and work at the library for a while, not really leaving school behind but getting a fresh perspective.
He said that wouldn't work at all. (I totally agree… we went to a friend's house for coffee yesterday and I had the kids take their work, and he accomplished almost nothing outside of his familiar study hole.)
He finally told me that the reason he's been fighting school has been because he's tired and because he just. hates. school. Especially math. He hates math. Why does he have to learn this math? It's not even the new stuff; it's all the review. I pointed out that the math he's been learning now will, in fact, be very useful throughout his life and gave him several examples. He brightened up when he realized there is a method to the madness. I doubt it will be a long-term fix, but it did help him get through today's math paper with some degree of success.
I have all 20 fingers and toes crossed (it's really hard to type… and do you like all the parentheses today? I'm parenthetically-inclined this afternoon) that adding a low dose of a stimulant medication might help him. He likes math when he can focus. He's really, really good at math when he can focus. But he hasn't been able to focus at all lately, and so he hates math… and school in general, but math in particular. This loathing of learning really should've been my first clue that his focus level wasn't up to par, but I'm a little slow on the uptake, despite parenting this child for 11+ years. We visit his pediatrician on Monday to see about testing the waters with a new prescription to add to his non-stimulant. I totally hate drugging my kid, but when he can't learn, can't focus, can't become who and what he's capable of being because of neurological hangups, something has to give. Hopefully we'll just use the new medication for a year or so, get him back on track, and then phase it out like we've done in the past. Just something to get us over the hump.
Anyway, I asked him if there were any other problems with school other than math, and he admitted that even though he feels like he hates school all the time, it's almost entirely an avoidance of math and the fact that he just wants to get done as quickly as possible but without putting in any effort. So it's a motivation issue, not the curriculum. Not much I can do about that. The problem-solver in me dislikes this fact and wants to 'fix' it, but it's going to have to come from within him.
I did ask if he would stay home next year if he had the chance, and he said he most certainly would. He still absolutely hates the idea of homework and being stuck behind four walls until 3 or 4 p.m. But he also hadn't realized that once Boo goes to public school, we'll be following her schedule and he won't have the same overall schedule he has now. He didn't like that; it gave him serious pause for thought. I'm still going to call the curriculum specialist and special education coordinator for the local schools next week (meant to do it this week, but I hate making those sorts of phone calls and so procrastinated prodigiously) and find out where both kids stand, but if the boy begs and promises to actually work - and I'll admit that he worked much more effectively and better before his sister was here with him - he might get to stay home.
Or maybe he really does need to see how other people work together, play together, and interact together. Maybe he does need a little peer pressure to get his work done and learn how to treat others, especially his long-suffering mother, with respect.
This child tears me up. I question everything with him. I'm not sure if it's because he's my first or because he's simply a difficult child to decipher, but the agony is killing me. I'm ready for a breather.