Yes this one...
I just got her semester grades!!
I'm choked beyond belief!
Here's the deal...
From the time Megan has been in the 1st grade, school has been a nightmare...For ME!
I fought with her 1st grade teacher...I knew from Megan's homework that she was struggling with reading. I talked to her teacher. A first year teacher, who told me Megan just needed to focus more. Well, I am no expert, but when kids consistently write letters backwards and struggle with associating sounds with letters, it usually means dyslexia. It runs in my family. I told the teacher this. Nope, nothing doing...she wasn't going to have Megan tested or put into any sort of special classes. Because(drum roll please)...Megan was NOT a disciplinarian case. HUH?? So the kid has to cause holy hell in your classroom before you will get them some help?
Well, we moved to Arizona and I talked to her teacher in that school and she was immediately tested...ta da...I was right, she was mildly dyslexic. She was put into a Title I reading program. Before long, she was reading like a whiz and loving school. I was in HEAVEN.
For two years, we enjoyed success. Megan even made it to the Principle's List a couple of times and won Outstanding Student awards. It was bliss.
And then...it started all over again...forgotten assignments, homework not turned in and dropping grades. Thankfully, she had a very good teacher and he worked with us, ALOT. He recommended lots of things and talked to us about ADHD and ADD. He said Megan was too well mannered to ever be a discipline problem, but she would just "check out". HELL was revisited. I felt like I was in the 5th grade all over again, but worse. I had to get online, write down all of her assignments, make sure she had them, did them, turned them in...and still her grades dropped. Both of us were miserable.
We moved to another area in AZ and she started school there after Christmas break. She was excited to move, because we could finally have our horses with us on the property and she knew some of the kids at this school. Things went pretty good the rest of the year.
But the next year was beyond miserable. I talked to her teachers, I talked to her teachers AND the principle. I asked her to be tested to see if she qualified for a special ed Math class and she was just a couple of points above the test line, so they wouldn't put her in the class. Everyone just kept telling me I need to be more involved in making sure Megan got her homework done and turned in. Wellllll.....excuse me....there is only so much a parent can do. Every night, "Do you have any homework?". Almost always, the answer was "No", and every week I would get a report that she was missing homework.
Finally, I got fed up with the teacher passing the buck. She KNEW Megan had problems remembering to write the assignments down and she KNEW that Megan purposely forgot to bring her books home so she could do the assignments, but she refused to lift a finger or to have her classroom aid make sure that the kids were getting assistance. The reason I know, she knew the probles is because I talked to her and she told me she did not have time to check everyone. I asked her if all her kids had problems and she said no, just a couple. Well, in my opinion at that young of an age, the teacher should be checking the assignment books every day(Now, I know that the good teachers do-because most of the teacher I substituted for DO check the assignment books). I got with the teacher, Megan and the Principal. We tried to come up with a game plan...well, at least I did. Finally, I tried to explain to Megan that if she did not complete her assignments and pass her classes that she would FAIL the 6th grade. When I was a kid, that was like the worst stigma EVER! The teacher had the audacity to tell Megan that she did not have to worry, that would not be the case, they were NOT ALLOWED to fail kids anymore. I was so mad I about kicked at beee-oootch's ass right then and there. So much for consequences huh???
I took Megan to a Child Psychologist, recommended by a friend of mine, and had her tested. This lady was very nice. She talked to us together, she talked to me and then she worked with Megan. At the end of the day, I had the answers I was looking for. My daughter is, in fact, mildly ADHA/ADD, specifically, she has an Inattentive subtype that affects her organizational skills and ability to comprehend math functions. Which means...that she specifically needs assistance at school when it comes to organizing and maintaining her assignments book and probably needed to be put into a special ed math class to help her learn how to learn how to remember math functions. Memory is a problem for this kid. If she gets off-track, she finds it almost impossible to pick up where she left off.
One thing I really liked about this psychologist is that she recommended that we work on trying to minimize the effects of the ADHD/ADD through dietary changes before trying any drugs. Not that I would have let her prescibe any of those drugs for Megan, but it felt good to know there were other ways to help. We have always eaten pretty darn healthy, but what I found out is that I actually needed to add the right kinds of fats to our diet and that some of the "healthy" things we were eating weren't what Megan needed. Milk and White bread-two of Megan's favorites needed to be reduced. Breakfast cereals-reduced. I started cooking with cold-pressed olive oil, added fish a couple times a week, eggs or oatmeal for breakfast and some Vit. E and Codliver Oil supplements. The results were not dramatic, but they were noticeable. Now, the changes have just become a normal part of our cooking. We aren't much for candy or junk food. The occasional bag of chips or candybar isn't a problem. And coffee in the morning helps a lot.
With my paperwork in hand, I headed back to the school prepared to do battle. But the school year was almost over, so nothing got accomplished. That summer we moved back to South Dakota. Now, I am very lucky in my tiny little town...most of the teachers that are Megan's teachers were my teachers when I was in school. Yep...they ALLLLLL remembered me! Damn!! You would think after 20 years, they would forget...or at least time would dull their memory. NOPE! Not in my case-Sheez...It's been TWENTY YEARS! Let it go already.
Yes, I was a hell raiser in school. I was the student that made teachers mad. Not because I was ever a "problem" in school, but because I showed up, I slept through classes, I partied every night, I NEVER studied...and I still aced their classes. School has always been so incredibly easy for me. I could read an assignment and ace the test on it a week later. I was so good at debate, that I made a couple of the debate kids cry. Real...actual tears of frustration and rage. Several of the teachers told my mom that I was a shame that I didn't apply myself. To which I replied, "I don't apply myself and I still earn straight A's...hmmmm, how exactly do you apply yourself more than that?"
But then, here comes my little girl. The first thing I did was make sure that my old teachers understood that Megan was NOT me. Yes, she is intelligent and yes, she is capable of pulling good grades. But...she needs a leeeee-tttllle assistance in certain areas. They were all so good with Megan in 7th and 8th grade. She did pretty good. I thought that finally, we had gotten over the worst of the "issues".
And now I get her 1st semester report card from High School and I feel like we are back at square one. But this time...this time, things are going to be a little different for Miss Megan. I know that these grades are from a total lack of effort. This time, Miss Megan is going to start learning that, in life, you have to work for some things.
I know she is having difficulty with Algebra...heck, Algebra kicked my ass in HS...AND college. I needed a tutor in college. The instructor actually worked with me while I took my semester test. For one reason...he knew that I worked my butt off, every day in class. He knew that I knew how to do Algebra, but he also knew that I had a very difficult time remembering the processes without looking at a book. Such a nice guy. But, he wouldn't have done that for me if I hadn't been in class every day, turned in every assignment and showed obvious effort.
So back to Miss Megan...I started the ball rolling for her to get a math tutor. Not another kid, but one of the teacher's aids. Megan will be switching study hall classrooms. I am going to have her Algebra teacher get with this aid and clue her in on where Megan needs help and after that, it is all on Megan to put the effort in. Something she is not real "into", if you know what I mean?
And just to be extra mean, I have given Megan the opportunity to earn the right to attend and participate in extra-curricular activities. If she want to go to a game, she needs to bring me a current copy of her grades. If everything is a C or better and no missing assignments, she can go. If not...don't bother asking. If there is a D on her progress report coming up...she will have to drop Cheer Leading. If there is a D on her progress report when it's time to enter the HS rodeos...forget about me paying the entry fees. And that spring musical she wants to try out for? Yep, you guessed it. No D's allowed. It is the only way that I know to get her to put some effort into keeping those grades at an acceptable level. Extra-curricular activities are important to kids. I like the fact that Megan loves to be involved, but not at the cost of her GPA.
She has to face the fact that she is not and probably never will be a person capable of heaping too much on her plate. She will always have to be careful of what she takes on so she doesn't get distracted, overly tired and overwhelmed. Life doesn't get easier after high school, it just gets more complex. So I think that it is very important that she learn how to balance her life, considering there are certain limiting factors she will always have to deal with.
I worry about my girl sometimes. I was a wily, street smart kid. Her, not so much. She is trusting and gullible. She will always be the "patsy" for others if she is not careful. In some areas she is so strong and worldly beyond her years and others?? She is years behind other kids her age. So needless to say, our happy little momma/daughter relationship is definitely feeling the pangs of the teenage years at the moment.
I just want spring to get here, so we can get back to doing what we love to do together and that is our horses. I miss my cowgirl. I'm not sure who this little princess is who traipses through the house in cute little outfits, make-up and curled hair. I'm not even gonna go into the "new" boyfriend thing....grrrrrr.