10 June 2010

Wake Up Call

This is me giving myself a kick and a pinch. This is me feeling aghast and embarrassed. This is me the day after parent-teacher interviews...

My kid is the Class Clown.

Remember those boys?? There was one in every class I was ever in. They were silly and funny and made everybody laugh; but they were always getting told off by the teacher and their schoolwork was a mess.

That's my boy.

Last week the pre-parent-teacher-conference reports came home. And the format has changed (which is partly why all this has come as something of a shock).

Before, the reports told you next to nothing.
"He is working on numeracy stage 3..."; "He is outgoing and well-liked..."
All very pleasant.
Easy to think Numeracy Stage 3 is fine when the teacher is smiling at you and asking if you have any questions... And if you asked, "Where should he be???" they'd just keep on smilin' and say, "He's doing fine."

For whatever reason, our school has decided to drop all this PC crap, and finally tell us what's what...

"He's at Numeracy Level 3 - and he should be at Level 4 or 5 for his age; he's below average..."

"He is well liked and outgoing - to the point where he has had to be separated from the other boys and now sits beside the brainiest girl we could find..."

The class clown.

Now that doesn't mean that the teacher thinks he's a bad kid. Not at all.

His teacher said (and I quote): "He's got a heart of gold, super-sincere, very polite, caring and socially confident..." Wowee! I should be turning cartwheels. And I am proud of him for that.

I'm also proud of the fact that he is reading at his correct age level; he is enjoying reading and beginning to read for fun. Phew. That's a big thing.

And his maths has improved greatly - he's gone from being Level 3 (and in learning support) to being Level four and even five in some areas, which is right where he should be. Good Progress. Well done there, Dash.

But. But. But. He gets distracted constantly. (No, he is not ADHD, thanks!) His written work is messy and rushed and he often doesn't finish it(groan).
He clowns around to get laughs. The teacher can be having fun with the class (which he does often, because he is a really cool, fun teacher), but then it's over and time to work... but my kid is still carrying on being silly. He doesn't know when to stop.

Mr G whispered to me last night in bed, "He gets that from me you know..."

Hmmmm. Yes, well I knew he didn't get it from me!! I was the brainy nerd girl in class who always had to sit next to the silly boys to get them to calm down. My reports never had anything less than "excellent" "responsible" "diligent" and "a pleasure to teach". Nerd girl, me.

So I have just been coasting along assuming that my kids are fine at school. Assuming that when he told me he had no reading/homework/spelling tonight that he was telling the truth... Letting them take the walking bus to and from school every day (how convenient!) Hardly ever putting in an appearance (justifying it with, hey, that's how things were when I was a kid...I don't remember mum or dad ever coming to school for parent help or walking us into the classroom...)

My kid is uber-sporty, ultra-competitive, fun-loving and just a little bit crazy.
He's not slow, but he is a kid who is going to have to work hard to do well, he can't coast along and be OK.
And now he's seven. the days for endless playing and class-clowning are over.
For me too. I can't spend all my days playing here on the computer. I'm going to have to leave the house and get involved.

I'm going to have to spend my afternoons and evenings hearing reading, giving spelling tests, setting written assignments and staying on his case.
We are working on a plan, between us and his teacher, to get him on a better path.

That means my head has to be in the game. I can't be there-but-not-there, if you know what I mean?

I'm a typical extremist; when I'm passionate about something, it's all I can think about. So when it comes to blogging, increasing readership, writing a book... that's where my mind is. The other stuff gets done in a fog. Shame.

(gritting teeth) So I am going to have to cut back on blogging.


Cut back, I said, not stop. I've been posting nearly every day lately... that must come to an end.

Must. Work. Smarter.
Must pour my creative energies into ensuring that my kids don't stumble in these crucial early years at school. I'm shaking my head at myself right now. I've had my head in the clouds.

So if you see me posting here more than 3-4 times a week, give me a kick in the pants wouldya??

(now I'm off to go make up a homework chart...)

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Kathy Monk said...

You're a good mum Simone!

CraftyMummy said...

You sound like the parent every teacher wants in their class - the one who actually listens to what they say and tries to do something about it. You wouldn't have written about it if you were one of those parents who don't care! I agree with Kathy - you're a good mum!

faith ann raider said...

Good for you. At seven he still has lots of time to regain the ground he's lost! I remember my little seven year old boys in Sunday School class - for some of them everything just came a little harder, like just sitting still. He is so blessed to have a mom who is willing to sacrifice for him! :)

Amy said...

Can sympathise. My girlies' homework is like a career for me, every afternoon. Forget blogging! Now I blog about once a week because I am caught in the grip of two lots of academic commitment. Neither of them are behind, thank goodness, but keeping them motivated and being sharp enough and alert to the school's expectation means I have to be really on to it. Sigh. Lots of it is too hard for me! I have to really muscle in some brain power when they have deep maths or a complex article. We do about 1-2 hours each afternoon but I am adamant that our nights stay free. I cannot think after 7pm! All the best with your new hobby as a homeworking mom!!! xxxx

Shell said...

Aw, he's still doing good, though! Sounds like you have a good plan, though. Work with the teacher and he'll improve!

meg said...

Good Luck! You may need to lock up the computer or find a setting that won't let you power it on between 230pm and 730pm? I think ours has one but I don't want to use it either.

Chantele said...

My daughter gets distracted easily, and EVERYONE says, "have you seen the doctor, maybe she has ADHD!" Right away. Drives me nuts.

Found you through PYHO; following you! :)

Weza said...

Simone, I have to tell you something, boys often are behind in maths until around 7 - 8 years old when developmentally something in their brain clicks in. It is not something I would fret about yet. Just encourage him, get some maths games etc. Do NOT get stressed about it around him. It is so important that he doesn't begin to think he is bad at maths. As for the class clown stuff, have a chat with him about appropriate times for comedy and help him to realize that he has a gift at making people laugh, but he has to work out the right time to use that gift. I would have his eyes checked too. lack of concentration and poor written work is a symptom of eye issues.
You are a fantastic mum Simone, your kids are really blessed to have such amazing and interested parents. Dash is a normal seven year old boy, he will be fine. xxx

Sarah Gauntlett said...

go you! I am in the same boat with the blogging. I used to post 3 times a week and sometimes on the weekend MAYBE. it feels good... when you get used to it. we won't all whither and die without a daily post to read :-P

I think I was more of the class clown, i just never understood maths and english. When my kid(s) go to school, it will be my accountant of a husband doing the maths homework with them!!!!

good luck and have fun! he is sooooooooooo dashing!

PaisleyJade said...

Good on you Simone - like what Weza said. My eldest had a year or so where he was playing up in class and doing not too good at maths, so I found some fun worksheets and communicated more with his teacher (via communication notebook) and he is doing great now!

I remember struggling at school for a year and then found I needed glasses, so it is a good idea too to get his eyes checked.

I think he sounds like a fun and very lovable guys - sounds a lot like Mr G if you ask me!!

Gail said...

Ames - 1-2 hours! Crikey.
Yeah, homework sucks. But is necessarily. Not for anything really other than mileage and practise at this age. Boys do generally take a while to establish themselves - I used to teach year 3 & 4 - each year I found the year 3 boys within those classes making the most progress in terms of transitioning. It's a big year for them and they grow so much. You will hopefully find that by the end of this year. I really enjoyed teaching this age because of the transition and hopefully his teacher does too! The reality of school - kids do heaps better when their parents are interested in what they are doing and are supporting their learning. Reading, game playing. So important. Enjoy it though - yeah it will take blog time away, but in the long run, will be of more value to your kids. Blog after hours :)x

Gail said...

note: teachers aren't neccesarily good spellers :)

Anonymous said...

I used to be that brainy girl who had to sit next to the class clown....who later became Mr. C. btw....and he still annoys the hell outta me sometimes xD

btw my dear friend, you just received an award^^


Anonymous said...

But just like your son, Mr. C. is a lovely person by nature...just a little uhhmm....jazzed sometimes.

Neetz said...

hahah...loved the read. What a great Mum you are! I have a 5 year old who I think is gearing up to be the next class clown...(lawd have mercy!) :)

S and family said...

I feel your pain. Just keep telling yourself that your son will grow up to be a wonderful person with great skills for getting along with people. The skills needed to do well in a classroom are not always the same skills needed to do well in life...

Anonymous said...

Oooh, Weza, I needed to hear that too. Cuz my boy is the class clown, too (And Simone, I'm dreading my first "National Standards" report card - we get ours next week. I'm gonna be seeing the same stuff, I guarantee it!!)

I actually insisted that my boy keep the same teacher from last year as she's strict enough to keep him in line most of the time without completely dampening his spirit, ya know? ;)

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