Proceed with Caution

The son got his report card last week.  He's not a stupid or slow kid he's just lazy and shy.  He's too afraid to ask for help so he doesn't finish his work and thus doesn't hand in all his assignments.  This leads to him getting incomplete for his grade.  He has been warned about this before.  We have taken his video games away from him for not completing work.  So what does he do?  Yup he gets an incomplete in math this term.

So although I got an A in algebra in University I don't remember all the stupid little details of how to do things like dividing negative exponents etc.  So we sat for hours trying to look up info.  Oh, and the real kicker is that this teacher doesn't use a text book so there is no where we can go to see examples of how to do the questions.  All I have is the worksheet.  I don't even have the answers to see if we did things right.

I'm ready to kill someone, well not literally of course but I can't believe this kid is so lazy.  He is stubborn too just like his dad.  These are not good traits to have together.  He won't get far in life with these traits and I'm afraid for him.  He won't put up his hand in class and ask for help ever.  There is only so much help I can give him with nothing to help me.  The stupid husband phoned the teacher who said there is lots of help in the class and the son can stay in at lunch or after school to get help.  So after struggling for a few hours to work out how to do these stupid equations and finally ending up only a couple of questions down the very long list I called it quits.  Every one of these questions is different which means we have to look up how to do them online and we hit a wall.  One question is not working out at all.  I threw in the towel for the night and told the son he needs to stay after school to get some proper help because it will take us ages to do them together and I'm sure that the teacher who teaches this stuff knows all sorts of short cuts and rules to make this stuff easier.  I can do basic algebra and statistics stuff but throw in some negative exponents with division and I'm getting lost. 

I am frustrated and angry right now.  I am angry at my son for not getting off his rear end and getting help before now.  I'm angry at his teacher for there being no text book or even some papers with solved examples for the kids to see.  And I'm angry that I'm left wasting my evening trying to work this all out when there is a perfectly good teacher who gets paid to do this and obviously isn't doing his job.  But then on the other hand I'm only getting my information from my son who will lie to make himself look better or get out of doing stuff.  If I find out there is a text book or papers with examples I am going to ground his butt off!

I really shouldn't have to be doing this with a 15 year old.  He's way too old to get comments on his report card that he doesn't put his hand up or participate in class discussions.  This has been an ongoing problem with this kid and I don't know how to help him.  My psych degree is useless here.  I've done everything to get him out of his shell but part of his problem is his stubborn attitude just like his dad.  His dad will do something over and over that isn't working and instead of trying something new he will keep doing what doesn't work.  It totally amazes me to watch this go on.  I can't believe he got this far in life if he can't figure out something isn't working and try something else.   I'm going to say for my husband it's brain damage from growing up with lead in his environment.  I can't think of any other reason for anyone being so thick but for the son he is just too shy to ask for help.  I can only imagine how many jobs he's going to lose because he can't ask a simple question. 

I should be helping the daughter study for her science test but the husband is doing that and from experience he won't do a very good job and the daughter's mark will be low.  I've taught both the kids how to study for tests and expect them to study on their own.  If they want to do a review where I ask them questions then I'll do that but I quickly found that the daughter wasn't doing any studying and expect me to teach her the whole chapter cause she didn't know any of it.  I made her read the chapter and write notes and study them.  If she didn't answer at least 50% of my questions right then she had to go back and study on her own.

My parents never studied with me or helped me very often with my school work.  They had four kids and way too much to do to help every kid with every test.  I learned to study on my own without any help and did well in school.  I'm about ready to just back right off and not help my kids at all because I'm wondering if my help is really doing them more harm than good.  If they don't learn to do things on their own then I've failed at my job as a parent. 

It's days like this I wish we had some wine or any type of booze in the house cause I could use a drink right now!


Erin said…
First - you have not failed as a parent! If you had, this wouldn't even be bothering you.

Now that that's out of the way, take a deep breath. I worry constantly about these things becoming a problem in the future. I, like you, will ask questions and just get in there and study and learn on my own, and so far Loch does, too, but their dad is shy and doesn't like to ask questions or repeat things back to make sure he heard them (he didn't!), and it drives me batty. The guy will wander around a hardware store for hours looking for some tiny part and not ask because he doesn't want to "bother" them. Me? I'm like hey, that's their damn job and I'll march right up and ask LOL. Probably why he takes me all the time. I'm sure you know this already since you have psych experience, but lots of kids are really smart but completely unmotivated or unchallenged and shut down, I know the gifted school here has a constant supply of students for their counseling dept as it seems the two problems go together quite often. I also think that when a student is headed for an F or Incomplete it is the teacher's job to be giving heads up to the parents or guidance counselor WAY before it gets to the report card stage. Ah, I wish I had advice but my kids haven't reached the teenage angst ridden years yet, but thanks girlfriend for scaring the crap outta me LOL! Keep your head up and remember, because you care so much it shows that you are a good parent, you just can't do it ALL by yourself. good luck and keep updating, we're here for ya!
Sparkless said…
Yes, Erin be afraid! Be very afraid. LOL! I'm just kidding. Your boys will be fine and I'm sure so will mine. Thanks for your kind words and support.
One of the problems is that we don't have middle schools anymore here. With declining enrollments they've had to close them. So kids go from elementary grade 7 to high school. I don't think the high school teachers do a good enough job helping these kids who should be in middle school. sigh
TheBlakkDuchess said…
Oh my darling! You have NOT failed as a parent. There is only so much you can do & the rest is up to the kids.
I can relate to not asking for help in class. I never asked for help, mostly because it didn't occur to me or I was too embarrassed. Especially at 15.
Another possibility, aside from laziness, is that your son is in a learning environment that isn't quite right for him. He may excel in another type of environment. I don't know what kind of education resources you have at your disposal there, however.
As far as not using a text book... @_@ your son's teacher is INSANE. I'm so sorry that this is such a frustrating experience for you & for your son. Hang in there, both of you, and things will hopefully level out.

Thank you for your kind words to me the other day. I very much needed the calming energy you sent me, and it helped a great deal. Now allow me to send some back your way... and hopefully you will be able to find the calm, centered & grounded feeling I have stumbled across.

You & your family are in my thoughts. Especially your son, as he's at one of the most difficult times in his life & development. Especially YOU, because you are his mother, and care & love him.

I know that there are some good books available (like Algebra for Dummies) that have helped my partner. Math is decidedly NOT her strong suit... But between the book and my help, she's managed. ^_^

Also, if you're interested, you can email me if you guys are really stuck & I can try to help. I know it won't be terribly easy over the internet, but I'll totally give it a whirl if it's something you're interested in. Let me know if you are interested & we'll hammer out the details. ^_^

Love & hugs & calmness... XOXO
Sparkless said…
Thanks so much for your kind words and offer of help Duchess. I found several useful sites online but it took us hours to find the right ones that had similar things to what the son is doing in math. It can even solve the problem for you so you can check your answer!

I think it was the negative exponents that threw me for a loop. I couldn't find anywhere that would help us solve for them at the time.

I hope that you are right that he'll change. He's in drama and loves that so I really hope that will help with his shyness.

I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better. I have those down days and know how much it means to get kind words from people and energies sent. So thank you.

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