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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life In Memphis

This is the first morning that I sort of feel settled. My bedroom isn't done. The playroom isn't done. There maybe boxes in my garage for another month, but I'm okay with it. The laundry is done and put away. I'm planning a trip to the store and my mom and step dad should be arriving this weekend. It is starting to feel normal most of the time.

What's not normal? The transition for my kids. The schools systems from Virginia to Tennessee couldn't be more different, particularly when it comes to math. I still don't understand how Hanan, who often struggles with new concepts is going to cruise right through the year. She's already done everything they are working on now. Arleigh, the Student Super Star is struggling to catch up.

I sympathize with all you teachers who have 18-20 students in a classroom. Throwing in a new student from a different state in the middle of the year must not be exactly a cup of tea. I am beyond frustrated with Arleigh's teacher. I am now going to be forced to vent. Arleigh, as you may have read here is a compliant child, particularly at school. If she thinks she's done something wrong or not understanding a concept, it hurts her all over. I let her new teacher know that she is a sensitive child. I want her to like school. I asked her to be patient and to please let us know what we should work on at home. I got a call on the first day of school. Arleigh is behind in math. Arleigh doesn't know all her multiplication tables. The other children do. No big deal. She knows half of them.

So the next day, Hanan is having a horrible time adjusting socially. I'm dealing with that. Arleigh has been happy but they run to the car in tears. Arleigh is bringing home 2 papers with Fs. That teacher, who shall be unnamed, gave a brand new student an F on her second day of school. I was mad. (I want to write another word but I'm afraid my children might read this.) I was shocked to see that they were language arts papers, one of Arleigh's best subjects. I asked her if she asked for help. Arleigh's story, which may very well be distorted, is that she is asking for help and her teacher tells her she should have learned it already and needs to try. What do I do? I don't know if she's going over this in class. She isn't sending books home for me to review with her. She's testing these kids and she sends a book home once a week. Thankfully my mom the teacher was here. While I was going over stuff with Hanan, Mom walked Arleigh through both worksheets. Arleigh knew the material. It was taught slightly different in Virginia. She got confused and made some silly mistakes. The teacher let her take it over and she got a 100 on both.

Things seemed to be better. Then Arleigh came home in tears again yesterday. She got one C and one F on open book quizzes. What on earth? This is after a week of hearing how the teacher keeps telling her she should already know stuff. So I call the teacher.

I told her once again, Arleigh is coming home in tears. I asked her to let me know what we need to be working on with Arleigh. She has always loved school and now she doesn't want to go. I was told Arleigh is perfectly fine at school. She can't believe that she's upset at home. She also said there was no reason for Arleigh to fail an open book quiz. She had already gone over everything with the class. I told her Arleigh mentioned distractions around her desk, like talking and misbehavior that made it hard to concentrate. The teacher says that there is no such thing. She would discipline that behavior. She brings up Arleigh's math. I explain that Virginia has a new math program that I really like. Arleigh isn't accustomed to showing her work. They are taught easy ways to add and subtract large numbers in their heads. I wish I had been taught math that way. I understand that there are differences here. We are working with her on it. I got little to no response.

We finally agreed that I would keep Arleigh's papers at home instead of turning them in to her so I could show Arleigh how to work with an open book test. I am going over multiplication tables at night, a different kind of cursive handwriting, states and capitals plus all of her other homework. There are a few nights that I think homeschooling might be a better use of my time.

You should also know, that while I've been dealing with this, Hanan has been in tears nonstop. She didn't want to go to school. She didn't want to be left at school. The last straw was one morning, she hid. She cried. She refused to put on her coat. While she would refuse to go to school because she would miss me, it didn't seem to matter when I told her the police would cart me off for her truancy. I had to put her coat and hat on with her kicking and screaming, grab her backpack and put her in the van and buckle her. I think once she realized I would carry her into the school kicking and screaming things began to turn around. She hasn't cried about school since then. That is a huge relief.

So now you know where I've been since our move...unpacking by day, homeschooling by night. I'm happy to hear any suggestions. I think we're going to be okay if I can just get through this semester.

I promise Christmas pictures by the end of the week. Oh...just for my mom...and thanks to my wonderful husband...there is now a facebook link to my blog. Add me as a friend if you want to see all the pictures. Have a happy Wednesday!!!


The Driskells said...

As a former teacher, I am so shocked at Arleigh's teacher's behavior. It is hard to get a new student in the middle of the year, but it seems like she's taking her frustration out on you and Arleigh because of that! Not fair! At some point, if it continues, the administration needs to know about this. Some teachers don't handle change as well as others, but again that isn't Arleigh's fault. Keep reminding yourself and Arleigh what a great kid she is. Maybe you could find some scriptures about perservering and talk about them with her, and maybe you two could start praying for her teacher to soften her heart. We'll be praying too! Miss you guys.
: ) Kara

Blank said...

Arleigh doesn't know all her multiplication tables. The other children do. No big deal. She knows half of them.

Arleigh might enjoy these Times Tables crosswords. (Click on the PDF icon to get to the printables)

Shanan said...

Girl, I am praying for you! Change is so hard, especially on children but you and Ray provide a wonderful home atmosphere so I know they will prevail! As a former teacher too, it doesn't sound like the teachers are going "out of their way" to make them feel secure and included. I would volunteer in the classroom when you get settled. That way, the teacher can see you want to be involved and the girls can see that you are going to be a part of their school life too! Just a thought! I miss you! Shan

heidi said...

Oh, honey! Like the move itself wasn't stress enough? Crimeny! I hope the girls can find their groove and are as happy as clams very soon.

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