Monday, October 29, 2012

New Procedures for Older Son & Homeschooling

The day after deciding not to enroll into public school, coincidentially, my grade 10 (age 15) year old son and I had our second counseling session in which my son shared with the counselor that his goal was to succeed in school with a college prep plan and to still have time for rowing, Boy Scouts, and the robotics team.

We are working with the behaviorist so my son can temper his raging teenage hormones and make better choices regarding anger management. We have a new red flag procedure in process when my son does unacceptable behavior so that we will separate and he will go calm down, then we regroup. This will help me feel less threatened and scared about what he will do. There is a rule against violence toward other people and against breaking or damaging physical property.

The therapist is trying to help my son work toward choosing right actions that will get him to his goal instead of saying no to everything immediately, even when it plainly takes him in the opposite direction he needs to go to achieve his goal.

I was told to use certain language. I am banned from saying, "I want you to do this lesson" and "I need you to do this". Instead I have to say, "You need to do this lesson". This is supposed to put the responsibility for the academic work in my son's hands and not make it a power struggle issue between me and him. Sometimes I think semantics are over-rated but whatever, I'll say it that way if it will affect a positive change.

I am to give a detailed to do list with actual assignments not time assignments on them. I can no longer say "study math for one hour" or "read the history book for one hour". I explained that due to the slow visual processing speed it is hard for me to judge reasonable expectations when reading a certain book. I can expect too much or expect too little. It is easier to say "do it for an hour" and to accept whatever the page count is that can be accomplished.

Everything on the list has to be easy to evaluate if it was completed or not. We struggled in the meeting to come to an agreement on what way it should be evaluated, daily vs. weekly and the negative consequence that will come if he fails to meet the objective. He is supposed to be kept home from rowing practice if he fails to do his work. The session ended as time ran out just when my son was getting really angry with the counselor so we don't have a firm understanding about whether I'm checking the list at 3:30 pm or at 9 pm or the next morning or at the end of the week.

I am brainstorming some other creative ideas to help my son succeed. When decisions are made and/or tried, I will share them here.

For now I am busy scrambling to make up customized lesson plans or to acquaint myself with new curriculum since my son dropped the three online classes. I am making to do lists. I am also super busy homeschooling my seventh grader, having put in no fewer then 40.5 direct teaching hours with him in the last seven day period.

I am exhausted to be blunt.


Ahermitt said...

There may be a light at the end of your tunnel.

Karen said...

Of course, do be aware of the words you use. And, even more, be aware that you are doing your best!
Kids aren't perfect and they don't fit into any molds.
You may recall that I have a daughter who is TOUGH. So, it is with some experience that I remind you, think of his behavior as signs of his struggle. And, at some point, sit down with him as a partner and ask him, "What do you want me to do?" "How can I help?" And "Even if you don't know which way to turn, what seems like a direction you would like to try? What is a single step in that direction?"
Being 19 REALLY isn't adulthood.
Keep writing when you need to!