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Monday, January 28, 2013

Midterm madness

Since 4 of our kids have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we really try to avoid high stress environments and triggers...but sometimes there's no way around it. Stress happens in life. When it does, this basically means our house is a pretty intense place to be for a while. Sometimes that's a really bad thing...but dealing with stress and managing PTSD is a life skill our kids (and the rest of us who live with them) have been working on for years.We've made some progress in dealing with times when the stress triggers can't be avoided.

The past week or so has been Reading Week at our kids' school. That means our 3 high schoolers have been preparing for midterm exams which began last Thursday. They have hunkered down with their teachers and reviewed study guides in class. They have brought home said study guides and enlisted Mom's help with studying some more. It's a nice concept in theory, this Reading week thing...but it also means we've been eating and breathing test anxiety stress triggers for a bit too long. Here's how we've been managing:

  • We have feverishly revisited types of cells in Biology, the Periodic Table of Elements in AP Chemistry, and the Nitrogen and Carbon cycle in Environmental Science. 
  • We have puzzled over graphing linear equations in Math and developed a collective headache
  • We have attempted to tease and torture our siblings who did not have mid-terms as a coping strategy.
  • One of us decided to reduce stress by turning a brother into an impromptu punching bag
  • We have revisited the lesson of natural consequences for unkind/unsafe actions and returned to our studies.
  • We have made notes for a character analysis essay on Lennie and George in the book Of Mice and Men
  • We have declared English stupid and just too frickin' HARD! 
  • We have reviewed characters from the book Speak which we read last fall.
  • We have thrown our pencil across the room and declared that we can't possibly remember what we read last fall.
  • We have analyzed the poem "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and compared it to the book Speak that we read last September.
  • We have thrown up our hands and threatened to quit school because we can't possibly finish a 5-10 page paper on the Civil War in Syria for Current Events before Monday.
  • We have electronically submitted a 6 page paper on the Civil War in Syria to the Current Events teacher at 8:30 on Sunday night, complete with bibliography (Gotta love BibMe.org)
  • We have collapsed in a ball on the kitchen floor, moaning that the AP Government teacher is evil and trying to kill us.
  • We have orally reviewed all the amendments and articles of the US Constitution for AP Government...successfully.
  • We have tried hiding in our room, texting excessively, and slamming doors to avoid studying.
  • We have bemoaned the unfairness of life and midterms
  • We have made flashcards for terms and definitions for virtually every blessed concept in 9th, 11th, and 12th grade core curriculum. 
  • We have handed Mom flashcards to quiz us while simultaneously cooking, folding laundry, or driving to school. 
  •  We have thrown our study guides and flashcards in the recycling bin
  • We have calmed down, retrieved our flashcards and study guides from the recycling bin and tried again.

Today is the last day of mid-terms. The high schoolers got out of bed and girded their loins for battle. A hot breakfast of each child's preferred brain food was consumed. Loud music and lacrosse videos played on the computer to "pump us up" for the task at hand.  I heard chemistry gibberish being muttered from around a toothbrush and mumbled worries about a multiple choice exam on lipids, carbohydrates, enzymes and more. One child tried to wear her slippers to school purely for a sense of security...nice try but against school dress code...switched to cozy moccasins instead. They are done testing at 11am and will be rewarded with an early dismissal. Just minutes from now, I will drive to school and pick them up, fresh from battle and flushed with relief that the ordeal is behind them. No matter how they did on the tests, just getting it done is a victory against PTSD.

Thank God it's over...I'm ready for a rest.


Denise said...

I love this play by play. I giggled, because we have many days like this. Daily homework puts us into this category.

Thanks for posting and making me feel not so alone!!

alphamama said...

HI Denise! Thanks for your comment. I checked out your blog and agree we have a lot in common! The daily homework wars are a big deal here too so you're definitely not alone.