I feel good. I feel elated. I feel like a load has been lifted. I feel so much better. I feel hopeful. I feel excited.
That’s right. I played the mama bear and I found a way to let my kid be a kid a little longer. I found a way to make sure she is taken care of by contract. In an official capacity. By state mandate.
You see, I have a very smart 6th grader. But producing proof of learning can be challenging when you have ADD and processing issues and you attend public school where everything is done with the whole in mind; with the bell curve as your guide. Because not everyone fits into the same mold. (I don’t think we’re supposed to.)
Homework and school assignments that are supposed to take 20 minutes have been taking 1-2 hours and sometimes more, with me at her side aiding and helping and nudging and coaching and re-teaching. She was catching the bus before 7 am and still doing homework at 8pm. Her lunches were spent in the class rooms with teachers making up work that she hadn’t been able to complete, or finishing tests that the rest of the class could finish during class time.
Well, not any more, folks.
Now we have an official contract. A 504. People tried to fight against it or tell me it wasn’t necessary. I was told to hold off and try other things. But here’s the deal: every day that nothing was changed for her was a day that she struggled. A whole day that she had to work so hard to maintain, just to feel like a failure if she couldn’t finish. How many days does it take of feeling like that before a child will give up? I don’t ever want to find out the answer to that.
Today is the first day that there are new expectations. Today is the first day that three parties will have a duty to fulfill. The school, the parent, and the student. We were all trying to work together to begin with, but there is a “system” in the middle of it. There is the “They” that always gets in the way.
Do you know that they can’t/won’t do the testing (that already exists and is standing by) that would help us understand her processing issues because she is on the honor roll? That’s right; she would have to FAIL in order to qualify for the testing. She is on the honor roll because the girl cares. She has worked endless hours and put so much worry into her work hoping that her teachers would not think she was a slacker or that she didn’t care. It is incredible to me that someone has to fail in order to be helped. That seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t we be preventative? We should be helpful and hopeful and passing those good qualities on to our youth. We should be giving our children the tools they need to succeed. Instead they are failing in order to receive help. We are teaching our children to fail.
So now, the school’s job is to modify her assignments and they are required to give her more “kid time” by letting her go to lunch with her friends at least 3 days a week. My contract requires me to make her stop working on any given assignment after 20 minutes! I can’t fathom. She is required to advocate for herself by asking the teachers more questions (she hasn’t been asking).*
When she got home from school yesterday, I read her the contract and we both cheered and jumped up and down around the kitchen.
My kid can have time to be a kid! My intelligent child can prove that she is learning in a way that will not make her feel like she is a failure! It’s just the start, but it feels like a good one.
*There are a couple other details and I am paraphrasing some of it because I want to respect her privacy (not everyone is an open book like me;).
ps--for your information: she is not on ADD medication at this time. She has taken them in the past and last year she felt like she wasn't getting enough out of them considering the side effects that she was dealing with.
pss--go ahead, ask me questions. That's the only I way I figured out how I could help my girlie. I am happy to answer any questions you may have...
I took these pictures. I made this stuff with my own two hands. I wrote these words. It's just a bunch of craziness, but it's what in this noggin. If you're going to use any of my stuff for your own stuff, just ask me. (I'm sure I'll say yes. I'm nice like that.) And a little linkie love never hurt anyone if you know what I'm sayin;)