"Readin’, Writin’, and Rithmatic’ Again!"

When I shoved off on my blogging journey I idealistically gave myself a weekly deadline. No matter what, I would produce a blog a week and become prolific! My grand plan for blog stardom got off to an impressive start. I nailed my first three deadlines and then BAM! The wheels fell off of my ride. What’s really frustrating is that I didn’t miss the fourth deadline because I was procrastinating. Nope I missed it because of school. Not college or some deep and enriching post graduate program—but high school. You see when I participated in the spawning of a child (also known as “the boy”) I had no idea that when said child began his formal education that I too would be dragged kicking and screaming back into the classroom forced to do the K-12 grind all over again!

I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent person. For the most part I did well in school once I got the hang of it. There was that brief stint in elementary school when my report cards were plagued with “N’s” for ‘Needs Improvement.’ Admittedly it took me a few grades to catch on to the fact that my teachers actually wanted me to listen when they spoke, or to write on the paper they gave me instead of my desk. But by about the fourth grade, or so, I finally got the hang of things. Keeping in mind my early academic challenges I purposely married a reasonably intelligent man assuming we’d have a reasonably intelligent child or better yet a phenom who would blow the hinges off of class room doors with his super intelligence. Initially the boy appeared to be bright. He learned quickly, had excellent verbal and cognitive skills and was very creative. But the strangest thing happened when the child entered high school. I was horrified to watch as he mysteriously began losing brain cells. They vanished at such a rapid pace that not even Nobel scientists could comprehend it, let alone produce the miracle drug to reverse the boy’s tragic condition. Suddenly he was unable to comprehend the simplest of directions let alone complete daily assignments or study for exams. I am amazed that he managed to make it from one class to another without assistance. In the meantime my blogging got pushed to the back burner as I was forced to nurse the child and study for on my 10th grade finals again!

Where did I go wrong?  I followed all of those parental manuals that told me to read to him nightly, set regular study times and oh my favorite, supervise him until he can work independently. As if! I’ve been waiting years for that ‘works well independently’ thing to kick in on a consistent basis. I’m keeping up my end of the deal doing everything a dedicated, responsible and incredibly paranoid mother is required to do. I’ve met all of his teachers and stay in touch with them via email, I check his grades daily and homework nightly, I make sure the child gets the medically recommended 8 hours of sleep at night and a hot, homemade breakfast each morning! During the first semester the A’s and B’s appear regularly. He emulated all of the characteristics of a bright student on his way to success in high school. All of my concerns about his poor organization habits, daydreaming, procrastinating and forgetting to turn in assignments were momentarily washed away. I thought, “Wow”, all of those lectures from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade had finally taken root. I slacked off on the grade checks and actually began relying on my “brain cell deteriorating disease stricken” teenage boy to provide accurate and reliable information about what he is supposed to be doing in school. Talk about being a damn fool! When I regained my senses and checked his grades I was dumbfounded at how A’s and B’s had become C’s, D’s and even F’s. This can’t be! I kept checking the name and student number to be sure I hadn’t stumbled on to some other unfortunate child’s progress report. It’s was pointless though, Power School doesn’t lie even though I desperately wanted it to.

So now an ominous cloud now looms over the second half of the boy’s school year. It hails down a steady shower of yelling, punishments, lectures and of course joint studies. I spend countless hours trying to succeed where modern medicine has failed and reverse the loss of brain cells by pounding English, History, Science and Math (tutor required) facts and information into his head and, more importantly, trying to convince the boy that pretending the work doesn’t exist will NOT make it go away. It’s mentally exhausting especially as I wait with bated breath for the grades to come in. On the bright side I’ve definitely upped my skill level for shows like Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire by at least 90%. I can rattle off details about Stalin’s totalitarian government in Russia, offer in-depth literary analysis of The Scarlett Letter and The Grapes of Wrath or explain Newton’s Three Laws of Motion at the drop of a hat. I’m a walking trivia championship waiting to happen. But as a mom, turned high school drop-in,  I’m more concerned about whether the boy will actually have enough brain cells to get him through the rest of the 10th grade let alone the 11th and 12th grades. I know I can’t be alone in my agony. I’m sure other, otherwise bright and talented children, currently suffer from this brain cell deterioration disease (right?) At this point I can only continue to study and pray that the disease reverses its path soon so we, I mean he can graduate.



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