My head is a big jumbly mess right now so excuse me if I brain dump.
Stomach bugs, tiredness, is hubby ill ill or ill ill, and me?, how to tell for either of us?, new shelves, NOW, piles of junk everywhere in the living room, workman coming and going odd hours, sawdust and wood-shavings, oiling to do, again and again, birthday parties, baking, present wrapping, birthdays, getting a little organised, feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do, feeling overwhelmed by life, disappearing under the piles of junk, soldiering on, getting stuff done, people fed, clothes washed, washing up done, kids in bed, coping well, except in the area’s I’m not, Anxiety – I’m not listening to you, burying head in the sand, jumping at the phone, ignoring emails, same old rubbish coping strategies, making problems for myself, keeping up appearances on most fronts, crumbling on others, ….
Yeah, there’s probably a blog post or two’s worth of stuff there that I’ve kind of glossed over, so sue me. It’s just a little scene setting.
And then today, today I arranged to have the boy home for lunch. I kind of arranged it a while ago as we have to book school dinners 10 days in advance, so around the time I was feeling freaked out that he went to school clutching his teddy I suggested a home lunch this week. This morning I asked if he still wanted it, or if he wanted to take a packed lunch. He vacillated and chose home.
Great, go me, amongst everything else, doing something that I know has helped him in the past. I asked his teacher at drop off what the procedure was for taking them home at the new school, she seemed a little unsure. Turns out there’s only and hour, not an hour and a quarter, so it’ll be a rush. But I’m there, on time, waiting, waiting and finally he turns up, with his teacher. Who has to talk to me. Because he’s not done any work all morning. Not written a single word of his story retelling. Not a single digit of his sums. And normally she’d keep him in at lunchtime, but she can’t, because he’s coming home. So she’s giving me books to take home, to get him to do some work. And she’s also asking me to figure out what the problem is, because she can’t work it out. Oh and it takes me a while to work this out, she’s worried that it’s the change in routine that’s disrupted him, that the idea of coming home has upset his routine, that maybe he shouldn’t be allowed home unless he’s done his work in future.
Of course, by the time that’s over, I now have 45 minutes to get him home, feed him, spend time with him, find out what’s wrong, get him to do some work and get him back to school. We live 5 minutes walk from the school. Sound tight to you?
So, I try. I ignore the subject on the way home, try not to push him. Let him make his sandwich with the ingredients I pre prepared. Then challenge him to write a sentence whilst his sandwich toasts. I come back to find him tracing his fingers along the blank lines, nothing done, no pencil picked up. I encourage, cajole, get him to write a few words (as in 3 or 4) then fall out with him over crossing something out that’s wrong instead of going off to find a rubber. Eventually we/he manage a line, then I give him lunch. After lunch I try and squeeze a few more words out of him. It’s like there’s a blockage in the system. He writes a word, painfully slowly and then stares, the next word seemingly stuck somewhere. I read aloud what he’s done already, hoping to tempt the word out. But he resists help, gets frustrated. I can’t understand, this child who is so fluent in his talking, who is clearly capable of writing, how can he struggle so much. I tell him not to think about the word, just write it down. He gets angry, is in tears, how can I tell him not to think about his work. I feel like I’m forcing a square peg into a round hole – he is the peg and I’m obviously hurting him.
He gets less than 2 lines done. It was painful and unpleasant for both of us. He talks to me about how he had trouble concentrating this morning – unprompted, he’s trying to be helpful, trying to explain what the teacher wanted to know. He tells how the noise of the teacher teaching a small group distracted him from his maths because he could hear her talking. I point at other days when he did his sums and ask what was different. He says that some days he gets distracted more easily that others. I ask what happened when he was sat outside to do his literacy, and he says there were other children working in the corridor and he could hear them.
We walk back to school. He eats his pudding on the way, but doesn’t have time to finish it. I speak to his teacher. She seems to think he should have done one lot of work at dinner time. I explain that was impossible in the time. I try and explain his talk of distractions. She talks of there always having to be other around, it’s a school, she can’t put him on his own, he just has to get on with it. I know she’s right, but I know he’s right too. I leave as she’s taking him off to work on his own outside a classroom from the year above. The rest of the class are doing something else with another teacher, not sure what, whilst the teacher has a planning meeting, bue he can’t be left as he has this work to do. I’m not sure it work, being near another year group, that’ll be far too interesting.
I feel awful, like I’ve let him down. How was that time at home helpful for him? How will it help him cope with school? I should’ve put my foot down and said no. No way.
I don’t know what to do next. I know that they need to get him to write things down. That it’s part of school life – how you prove you’ve learnt. I know it’s a useful life skill. And he clearly needs the practise because writing fluently does not come easy to him. And yet, pushing him, clearly doesn’t work and is clearly stressful for him.
He doesn’t fit in their boxes. Intelligent children aren’t supposed to sit there and do nothing. They have their thrive program, but I’m not sure how it’s going to address the issues he has. I want to talk to the educational psychologist they use, he seemed sensible when I met him. I wonder if I’m allowed to request a meeting. But me talking to him and then explaining it to the teacher would be Chinese whispers, maybe I need to try and set up a meeting with him and the teacher and the Senco. How do I do that?