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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day Twenty Eight

I am on a public school tirade, really, at what point did they tell him he's now ALLOWED to try?

I am trying to find the level for Bankers new math program and he's FREAKING out.  There are the weirdest gaps in his math knowledge.  He is stumped by a couple really basic 5th grade problems but flying through a couple of really advanced algebra problems.  Worst, he's freaking out.  Wow.

I knew it would be a challenge to determine the "right" level of math program to buy him based on the competency review pages they gave me but I had no idea.  I want to be sure I get this right, get the dummy down version if it's all work he's already done and he'll hate the program because he'll be bored out of his skull but I don't want to get the next level up because, if today's meltdown is any indication, this level of challenge, venturing into totally new ground, will send him off the cliff.

I'm totally and completely gobsmacked at his comments and completely hysterical reaction about facing these problems!

OH WOW, THAT is the problem, he has no skill set to cope with "trying" a problem.  He looks and either makes a blanket statement that he knows how to do it or he doesn't.

The meltdown, and I am talking massive, complete, teenage girl in full drama worthy, meltdown is because he "can't" just "try" the problems he doesn't know how to do.
"They didn't TEACH US THAT"!!
"Well, honey, give it your best shot, try to think it out and give your best answer, you might surprise yourself".
"hey...  this is a just a rough outline so I can see where you are and what you know, your math teachers never gave us any indication of what you were learning.  No need to freak out, babe, just go through and see which ones you can figure out"
"But we're not ALLOWED to do that, she said if we don't KNOW how to do it, then skip it"  stomp stomp weep weep snarl

Wow, school system, nice job.  NOT ALLOWED? to what? TRY???  BITE me.

Ok, we've had a chat, he's washed his face and he's successfully passed the pretest to determine which test he takes.  Wow, that hurt.  He asks questions that shock me... "am I allowed to think of numbers with decimals as money?"  WHAT?  YES you can THINK ... just THINK... however you want.

Now then, I do know that some of this is Bankers innate rule following, letter of the law, there is no grey only black and white, personality.  But, come on, I'm sure he's been told he's not "allowed" to think of things a certain way or not "allowed" to figure out a different way to do a problem so it's not ALL on me!


Ok now... were are we?  He passed the competency for the overall pretest.  Oh wait a minute...  I just checked and he's gotten all the questions correct...the calming down effect is working.  Little successes go a long way with the Banker.  He's not frantic, teary, pissy or on the edge of any precipice.  I went in the dining room to stop him thinking I'd made the decision to buy him the pre-algebra (unless he pulls off some colossal mathematical brilliance in there).  I want him to be successful right off the bat and he can work through quickly, I don't think he'll be bored, he does have knowledge gaps.  I didn't stop him though, he's getting it, slowly, he's thinking and I am not about to stop him.

I'm helping him, not really but directing, a little stroking is really making this so much easier for him.  This isn't an exam, it's to place him and if me saying, "are you sure, did you double check your decimal points" helps him work it through, after the biblical level fit this morning, then I think it's the right way to go.  This is interesting watching him calm down and work through and sit and think...

THIS is why we do this.  I feel very VERY good about the homeschooling decision right now. Life is about thinking and school wasn't letting him think.

On a side note, he discovered the sitting on the couch eating your lunch watching tv moment.  Luckily he's a huge fan of Science Channel, Discovery Channel and History so he was watching something I'd call a documentary, way to keep learning, babe!

He ultimately flew through that level competency test and we decided to just stop with the tests.  We are going to get him pre-algebra and he can work through as quickly as he is able to to get a good, solid, base for the rest of the programs through this system.

Good plan after a really really bad morning.

It's 11, he's doing the sample pre-algebra lesson online to get a 'feel' for the class and he seems pleased he can answer all the questions so far, easily.  He's getting a crazy late start on his regular day but that's the freedom of this, isn't it?

I'm exhausted already, nothing kills you quite like seeing your child on the edge of hysterics and in tears, notwithstanding the cause so I'm just spent for the day.  I'm going to order his math program then have a well earned glass of wine.

He's going to work through his "easy" day and then hopefully feel great at the end of it.

Me? I'm really looking forward to our camping trip.


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