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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Forgive me, gentle reader, for I have sinned...it's been a week since my last post. I've forsaken my friends and family in blog land and I beg your forgiveness. It's not for lack of stories. In fact, it's just the opposite. There's been so much happening here that I couldn't find 5 minutes to sit down, much less write a post. Here's the Cliff note version of just a couple of the events of the past week:

Who the heck gets the flu in June? Well, apparently we do. Both Madiyar and Craig went down flat with a very nasty virus last week. When I say nasty, I mean it. Madiyar (who is almost never sick) missed 3 days of school and Craig missed 4 days of work. (In 18 years of marriage, I've never known Craig to stay home sick from work more than a day or two a year, let alone 4 days in a row.) I was Nancy Nurse all week, tending the sick and dying, delivering ginger ale with crushed ice, wiping fevered brows, shuttling from one sick bed to the other, offering solace while trying not to get too close to either of the infected. I even quarantined them from the rest of us...hey, it was self-defense. There are 7 of us in this house...and as if that weren't enough to deal with, just as the guys started to recover, there was the next crisis.

Heaven help us, final exams and end of year projects are upon us. That means lots of hours helping kids study for tests, research for term papers, practice for oral presentations, etc. Most of the time, that's situation normal...but noooo, not this week..

In the case of one of my cherubs, this meant being handed a stack of papers for his English project that he asked me to type. The project was an alpha biography; it required the students to use different forms of writing that they had studied this year. This meant choosing a word for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet and writing about why that word is important to them in either a paragraph of 5-6 sentences (topic statement, supporting details, conclusion) or a poem (haiku, limerick, free verse, acrostic, concrete). Each entry would be something like "A is for animals", followed by their paragraph or poem explaining why animals light their bulb using simile, metaphor, alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia, personification, etc. as well.  Then there were the 20 new vocabulary words he had to use in the project and list and define in a glossary, the friendly letter he had to write to his teacher describing his creation, and the table of contents for his book.

In short, this was a project that was assigned well over a month ago so it would be lots of typing but sure, no problem. I don't mind typing for the kids, especially when their handwriting is as hard to read as this boy's. I tell the kids all the time that as long as they do the work  (remember this part!), I can help with making it look nice. In this case, the stack of papers that were supposedly his completed product had more doodles and food stains than English content and only covered about 10% of what was required. Two days before the due date...90% of the work still to do...for a project that was worth 25% of his final grade.

I'll admit that what happened next was ugly.  I contemplated throwing my darling son off the roof. I contemplated (once again) the possibility of running off to join the circus, leaving my spaceshot boy to twist in the wind come Monday morning at school. Then I sat his butt down at the kitchen table where he basically stayed for the weekend doing the work he should have done previously...only this time with me breathing down his neck and beating him with a whip under my watchful eye. By Monday morning, he still wasn't done but he had enough to show his teacher his handwritten version and ask for an extension to finish it up. She and I talked...we agreed that he should have a reduction in grade for missing the deadline but that he would be allowed to turn the project in late.

Since this isn't the first time our boy has struggled with time management, focus and organization, I spent part of Monday with the Special Education coordinator at his school. I believe that he needs more support next year to help him stay on task, especially for large projects...so over the summer, he'll be evaluated and hopefully by Fall, he will be moved from his 504 plan to a full IEP. He's not thrilled about the go to school and be tested during the summer part of this plan. I've explained to him it's that or one of us is going off the roof . Testing it is!

More stories...soon...I promise...unless I join the circus.

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