Week 8 at school: reality check time


It is my final week teaching at the gawd-awful air force base satellite campus of doom.  Thank the gods.  It is Z-boy’s 8th week of attending public school.  He is in a “Montessori” class that includes 2nd and 3rd graders (he’s in 2nd).  His teacher seems quite good in a lot of ways.  He seems to be making progress in terms of his social development, which is encouraging.  His teacher, Ms W, is very experienced and older, which seems to be a good thing.  I think Z-boy has a lot of respect for her.

But, there are some problems.

One:  homework.  For 2nd graders.  Which, if you are “up to speed”, reading at grade level, and all that crap, isn’t a big deal.  It can be done by your “normal” 2nd grader in the 1/2 hour or so after school on Tue/Thur when she has “homework club”.

Well, Z-boy isn’t quite “up to speed” according to the almighty word of California State Standards (genuflect!).  So it takes him considerably longer, because it takes him quite a while just to get up to attempting to read the instructions for the problems. Sheesh.

Yes, that’s right: my extremely verbal boy is not yet confidently literate.

Why?  Why oh why is my boy having such a hard time reading???

I understand that the age at which children acquire reading skills/decoding skills varies considerably.  I get that.  I also wonder what I’m doing wrong.

Because, yes, I really think I’m doing something wrong.  In fact, I know I am.

Confession:  I am impatient.  Sometimes (well, actually relatively frequently) I get frustrated with how Z-boy seems to forget, from day to day, how to sound things out, or certain sight words… and it shows.  Bad mom.  Very bad mom I am, indeed.

I wasn’t always like this.  In fact, I used to be very patient.  But exhub ended up tipping me over the edge.  Exhub is barely literate.  He can’t spell.  Well, he can spell about as well as anyone in Z-boy’s 2nd grade class.  I am not kidding.  His problems aren’t on the normal level of “I always forget that i before e except after c rule and misspell receive!”  His problems are on the level of “I am pretty sure that the name for this tree that has acorns is spelled ‘oke’ “.

Yep, that bad.

He can read, but he is dyslexic.  So it is difficult.

But exhub’s real problem was that he said he was interested in improving his literacy, in becoming a better writer, but he wasn’t really.  Because it would have required real work on his part, and he just couldn’t do it (and I’m talking real mental and emotional work – the reason why he’s so terrible at writing is because he was abused, struck, hit, every time his mom would “help” him with his spelling and he got a word wrong).  Hence my frustration at having to do every little gddm thing for him that ever had anything to do with writing.  This was/ is a man who nominally owns his own business and was/is self-employed.

Of course I do not want my son to end up like his father in that respect.  But sometimes it seems like Z is just not even trying to learn, and it triggers all that icky frustration that I had to deal with when I was married.

Which, of course, makes Z-boy more anxious about reading, and thus the cycle continues…

Goal for self:  get over it, woman!  Your son needs you!  He WANTS to learn!  He TRULY WANTS to be a good reader!  so BE PATIENT!  and ENCOURAGING!  and GENTLE!

Good to have that off my chest.


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