Squirrel, pizza, dogs, text!

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Everyday, I discover something new about attention deficit disorder. Tonight, when I got the email regarding what would take place in school this week, as soon as I saw there were four tests in a three day period, I broke out in a sweat. Kids with ADD learn differently than other kids. Because of their lack of attention span, it is necessary to take breaks every 20 minutes or so. This is after 20 minutes of my son leaning back on his chair, petting the dog, getting up to get a drink, throwing down a piece of pizza and that’s just when he’s studying. Get the picture? It’s not like when you and I sit and give something 20 minutes of our undivided attention. It’s also necessary to study over a period of a few nights. One long night of studying never works. So how is this even possible when you have four major tests in four days? That is why I beg teachers to stay in contact with me and to let me know when tests may be coming up so we can get an early jump on the studying part. It devastates me to watch my son who is so bright struggle with time management the way he does. I sit here now as the tears well up in my eyes because of how much harder he has to work to get good grades and keep up with the work. He has very little free time and this week, he will have none. It’s also necessary for me to sit by him and help him study so he stays on task. Otherwise, he might very well sit with his paper in hand for two hours and not retain a thing. It really takes a toll on me and sucks up most of my time. I try not to let it get me down but sometimes, like tonight, it hits me pretty hard. We only have three days to prepare for two tests we just found out about tonight. I guarantee, when I sit down to see what he retains from class, the answer will be nothing. A test in biology and science in the same week is a real challenge. Somehow, it always works out this way. They seem to be the two classes where he learns absolutely nada in class and I know that’s true because of how much teaching it takes me one on one at home for him to finally get it. Sometimes I feel like screaming Why can’t you remember what we just went over? What will it take to make you learn? Can’t you just stop moving around? Will you ever grow out of this? But, somehow I find the strength to keep those thoughts to myself.

If you know a family with a child who has ADD, give them some support. You have no idea how difficult it can be at home. I’ve thought about making a documentary where someone could spend a week in our home when we have several tests taping what goes on so I could use it as a teaching tool to make teachers understand. They just don’t get it and they don’t even try. How do I know this? Because they won’t even stick to a 504, a plan that under the law, they are required to follow. Who’s going to make them? The government? That’s where I would have to file a complaint. Yeah, I bet you just laughed out loud. There’s  a major flaw in the system but isn’t that true for most things they stick their hands into? 

I needed to get this off my chest. If you or anyone you know has any tips for studying and retaining information in the most time effective manner for anyone with ADD, please share them with me. I am desperate and it’s so hard to do on my own.

What I Learned From Consecutive Integers

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As I was helping my son with his Algebra homework, something became very clear to me. I believe we make life more complex than it needs to be. We push beyond our limits and we lack the intelligence or the self control to stop and say enough is enough. 

Let me explain. Chase has a test tomorrow and they started a new section today that will be combined with two other sections to be included in the test. There were 12 problems and the progression of the problems went something like this:

1) The sum of 2 consecutive integers =45. Easy right? 

8) Find four consecutive odd integers whose sum is 56. Getting tricky…

12) Find three consecutive integers such that the sum of twice the smallest and 3 times the largest is 126. Forget it!

12 problems, so much knowledge and a test tomorrow!

We have got to slow down. We need to allow ourselves to grasp one thing in our lives before we are tripping over our own feet running to get to the next. This is why we miss the details and walk around in a fog asking “why did I walk into this room again?” We are not paying enough attention in this moment because our mind has us jumping ahead to the next. We cannot survive peacefully and happily if we continue to live like this and follow this path. For me, it didn’t start until I became an adult but our kids face it at an earlier and earlier age. Just another realization that jumped in my brain that I felt worthy to share. I don’t know, what are your thoughts? 

Are You A Hypocrite

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Since I’ve been writing about teachable moments lately, today I learned an important lesson myself. I was talking to a friend with boys about teenage girls and how different it is raising one of each. We laughed about injuries and broken bones when it comes to boys but agreed raising a teenage girl requires a great deal of patience, a sense of humor and then even more patience. It’s so hard to keep up with the moods and the eye rolling. Sometimes it’s a contest between the two of us. Seriously, how old and I 16?  I was telling her how girls can twist their face and do something weird with their eyes until they look like a psychotic, angry monster and what do I do back? Shamefully, the same exact thing. I do the very thing I tell my kids they SHOULDN’T  do. I am failing my own lessons. 

It occurred to me that my behavior is often a reaction to someone’s behavior toward me. If someone nasty to me, shamefully I am nasty back. If someone is usually friendly to me, I’ll make an effort to be friendly too. I don’t always have that block response alarm in my brain that yells Kim, DON’T DO IT, STOP! Sometimes my body language and mouth react so quickly that I don’t even realize what I did until it’s done. I really have to work on keeping my cool and reminding myself to make a solid effort to speak to people the way I want to be spoken to regardless how they speak to me. I need to treat everyone with kindness and respect and stop using my reactions to compete with or punish anyone else. In the long run, the only one really punished is me. No more excuses. No more allowing my ego to pilot my plane. I am in control of everything I say and do and it has nothing to do with anyone else. Today, I have to choose love. I have to do better. My kids are watching.

Straight from vocabulary.com

A hypocrite preaches one thing, and does another. 

What Exactly Is The Job Description?

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Discipline, positive work ethic and being ready to survive in the real world. 

If you asked my husband what his responsibility is when it comes to the kids, he may list those three things I mentioned above. I go back and forth in my mind each time I ask myself honestly, what is the most important thing I, as a parent, can do for my child? The problem is there are SO many things to do all the time. From the time they are born, we are teaching them how to eat, crawl, walk, write, drive. The list goes on and on. Somehow though, when I look at my children, I can’t help but wonder if simply loving them trumps everything else.

The world is a tough place. I think we can try and shove things down kids throats before they are ready. What I’ve seen is that when you try to do that, they literally choke. Sometimes they will look you in the face, stick their finger down their throat and purposely gag. They start to eye roll every time you have another lesson you are all too eager to teach. The truth is, everyone learns in their own time. Life has a funny way of slapping you upside the head when there is something you just aren’t getting. You will have the same lesson over and over again until finally you figure it out. AND, you will figure it out.

So, back to parenting. Should we really get all aggravated and befuddled every time we try and force a lesson on our kids and they reject it or don’t seem to get it? Should we consider ourselves a failure because our kid burps in public or chews with his mouth open? Should we try and shove harder and harder, make them get it? And then what? Maybe our job as a parent is to provide a place where our kids feel confident enough to learn on their own and someplace safe enough to fall if for some reason they fail. Maybe our job is to love them no matter who they are, who they love, what color they dye their hair, how many times they burp after we ask them not to and still love them after they have rolled their eyes for the 12 millionth time. Maybe that love is enough to send them the message, you are okay just the way you are and I have confidence you will turn out to be a decent human being without me forcing you to do so. 

I don’t know, that’s what I think but what do I know? I’m not a perfect parent. I yell. I lose my patience. I say things that I know I’ll regret and I pray my criticism won’t completely ruin their self esteem. However, every single day, whether I like them or not, I do the best to love them for who they are and provide a place they will always feel safe and wanted and accepted and loved. Could there really be anything else that is more important than that? Maybe my job and responsibility as a parent is to just love them while they are busy figuring the rest out on their own.

Forever A Student

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While I was lying on my yoga mat, I heard a question that really started me thinking. Are you a student or a teacher of your life? The answer is not the part that required much thought. For me, the answer is quite simple. I am a student, no doubt. I am like the eager student that gets up really early in the morning for school and wants to be dropped off long before the first bell ever rings. I do not ever assume for one moment that I know enough of everything to be a teacher of anything. I am learning new things about myself and living every day. I look for those opportunities and I grab onto them and embrace them whenever I am fortunate enough for one to arrive. There is no amount of learning I could ever do that would make me feel I have learned enough.

I have talked to some people that will argue over every sentence someone tries to speak. You know the type, the people who think they know more than everybody else and make it their life lesson to prove it to everyone else too. I just smile when I recognize it and know when I truly know with all my heart that I am almost certain about something, there becomes no need to argue or correct anyone else. Truth does not need to be proven or argued, it just is, and that is enough.

Today, observe your conversations with everyone you come in contact with. See if you can separate the students from the teachers and ask yourself, which one are you.

A Step in the Right Direction!

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I know I am extremely hard on the school system these days, but when a teacher does something I think is great I feel the need to brag. The timing is almost comical and goes hand in hand with a blog I posted earlier today. At what point do we hold our students to a higher standard. Just a few seconds ago, I got an email from one of my sons 6th grade teachers. This was a communication regarding poor grades and how those grades are a direct reflection of work that is not being turned in.This next semester, she will be calling parents to set up after school detention after three missing assignments. This will give the student time and motivation to not only complete the work they neglected to do the first time, but also prevent this situation from occurring a second time. Finally, someone that sends the message that handing your work in is important. Now, if we could get the high school on board I would be ecstatic. Bravo to her for for taking a new approach and caring about our children. She is a true leader and I hope other teachers follow her example.