Sunday, December 02, 2007


Tylenol Cold Nighttime has too much of a drowsy effect on me! Although it stopped my coughing and let me sleep last night, I just can't shake this drowsy feeling. One can only wonder what an actual sleeping pill would do to me.

In any case, it's messing around with my brain a bit. I had all these ideas yesterday--not written down--and trying to put things together in some sort of plan for school tomorrow isn't working so well. Maybe if I babble here it'll help.

For the oldest... I tried figuring out how to bring in the whole "What type of student do I want to be?" thing, but everything I've written so far feels wrong. If it in ANY way comes across as "You should have been doing this" or a criticism, it'll all fall apart. Part of it will depend on her mood tomorrow, too. She's been tired and feeling overwhelmed. Whatever I say or do has to actually be helpful instead of adding to her sense of being overwhelmed. One thing I know I need to really clarify with her, or perhaps have her officially agree to, is to NOT finish her math for the end of January. I don't see how she'd pass the exam. She is behind and has not come close to mastering any of the stuff. Give her an extra two months and I think she'll be ready. That means we can stop trying to cram two lessons into one and give her the extra practice she needs.

The plan for her, therefore, this week is to:
  • somehow bring up what kind of student she needs to be so that she can realize her dreams
  • have her figure out what's important to her in the long run
  • do as much as she can in chem (another area she needs extra practice in; I need to also give her some extra practice sheets)
  • I'm hoping she will have done the social studies reading she took home with her; if not, she'll have to finish that this week and will have to consider using Thurs. aft/evening and Fri. afternoon to do it all (dd and ds have a playdate Thurs. afternoon and Fri. morning we're going to a Mass)
  • for math, extra practice sheets and just getting her to do as many questions as she can in her lessons
  • I probably need to write up specifically what needs to be done. I realize now that for her next semester, she has to be MUCH more involved in the planning. Part of her feeling overwhelmed the other day is that she felt she doesn't really know how much she has left and when everything is supposed to be done by. Although, that may have been her brain stuck in some sort of rut--she's had plenty of calendars given to her breaking down her work and giving her rough deadlines. I think she was just really focused on being behind. For next semester, before she begins, SHE will work out a rough schedule for everything. Then we need to make it a habit to check in with this schedule daily so that she stays on track. She's very quick to stop doing stuff because she just doesn't feel like it anymore, and says things like, "I know I should..." I also somehow need to get her to connect all of this with what she *wants* in the long run. Hard to stay on track with school and not end up overwhelmed when you have no real desire a lot of the time to do the work, much less do extra.

Okay, now for "Bob"

  • I have this interesting program out from the library. One of the books is called "Get Ready to Read" and the other is "Get Ready to Write". I want to use those daily with him this week. I also have to get our phonics back in. AND copywork. His little writing snippet the other day was great, but his handwriting is still very immature.
  • For math, more work on order of operations and just keep going with this integer/pre-algebra work.
  • All I can think of at the moment.

Nothing specific for dd, except that she hasn't done cursive in quite a while.

For ds, I'm being un-Montessorian and insisting that he does some sort of reading, writing and math activities with me.

I think I'll try to write up the 16yo's "What's Left" list now. Wish me luck! ;)


Correne said...

A few thoughts about the 16-year-old:

I bet MOST 16-year-olds feel overwhelmed with school, homework, part-time jobs, sports, pressure over what to do with their lives and just being a teenager. That probably doesn't help, but maybe feeling overwhelmed doesn't have to be fixed so much as just dealt with.

Another consideration: Does she absolutely have to finish everything on schedule? When I was in high school, it became very popular to go back for "a second year of grade twelve" and lots of people now still take 4 years to finish high school. A lot of people do it that way on purpose, so they'll have higher grades for university entrance, and more time to do sports and volunteer stuff to put on their resumes.

Also, failing a subject the first couple of times isn't the end of the world. If she wants to be a pediatrician, she could look at it like, "I am going to be a pediatrician, no matter how long it takes." I have met several people who took math 30 3 times to get the marks they needed. At the time, I thought it was awful, like maybe they just weren't cut out for it. Now, I realize that some things are just hard, and it's okay to keep trying until you really understand.

I'm not saying that your student is incapable of finishing "on time," but maybe knowing that she can take as much time as she needs would take the pressure off.

Daisy said...

Thanks, Correne, for putting it into perspective--and to point out it doesn't have to be "fixed". She's probably just going through a general overwhelming time right now: her grandmother's illness is causing stress (is she going to die, when's she going to die, is it going to affect trip plans, her mom's stress levels, etc.; this isn't a woman she'll cry over, though, because this woman has never shown any love to the 16yo and her brother); diving and her knees (requires seeing a doctor--again--and possible surgery or something else); she wants to get a job but doesn't feel she has the time, plus she has one parent kind of pressuring her to do one thing for a part-time job and she'd feel guilty if she doesn't go that way; she wants to volunteer but doesn't feel she has the time; she still doesn't have her driver's licence and she was told she could get into some lessons if she called in Nov., but then when she called, there wasn't room for her; she just finished a course to obtain a certain coaching level, but to have it complete, she somehow needs to fit in 250 hours of volunteer time (?!?!?!)--this is tied to where she would like to work for a part-time job; she has to fit in Christmas shopping before they leave for their trip, cycling back to IF they leave for their trip... She's also been sick more often, has had more sinus problems, which may be related to when she broke her nose earlier this year, and so she might need to go see a specialist again about that... Lots of stuff to stress anybody out.

She doesn't have to finish everything on schedule, but she has set her own personal limit and does not want to finish any later than June 2009. She actually had had thoughts of working harder to finish earlier, but she realized she does want to have downtime. :)

And looking more over her stuff this weekend, she really isn't that far behind. For social, it looks like she's behind, but the 4 themes she has to finish aren't like the others and she'll just go through the ADL stuff we have--they can each easily be gone through in a week. Her chem is barely behind. Her math is quite behind, but I said to her last week that there's no problem in taking more time to get this stuff--as long as we don't skip days. Last year, we'd planned on the full year for math, but it ended up witht entire weeks here and there not touching math. This time, she'll be doing the math on pretty much a daily basis, but the idea is that she really gets the chance to master the stuff.

So, if she's feeling overwhelmed about school stuff this morning, I can share that all with her and I think it'll help her relax. :)