Friday, October 5, 2012

Failure is Just not an Option

a child, was put on academic watch and was frustrated. I told her that I opted to leave the OLS behind and just go for hands on education with the rest of the TXVA students. are you suggesting that was cold hearted or mean spirited because if she were to take the day off from working 18 hours a day, I was saying nanananana I get to go play, and you have to work, work, work? because let me clarify.  SOMETIMES you have to step away and actually embrace immersion education, maybe at the sacrifice of a letter grade.
maybe you are suggesting that by ASKING WHY she is frustrated would be intrusive, but that is HOW you clarify what the issue is.  IS the work too hard, it could be, and if it is, you ask the professor for modification. and yes, you can do this. is this a situation where the parent is agonizing that the child is struggling and the parents wants to make it better. which can happen, but to separate the parents struggles from the child's struggles is not an unreasonable query. many many parents, myself included do baby our special needs child.  I get physically ill to force my child to do his work, he cries, maybe even honest anguish tears, maybe to manipulate me, but it is hard as a parent to cope. but cope we must. the challenge is to honestly determine of the work is age appropriate or not. which is a reasonable assessment. if the child is in 9th grade but on a 6th grade level, modifications must be made, if the work is 9th grade and the child is 9th grade, MAYBE the child is not getting the delivery in an optimal way, and so to take the spirit of the objective, and find a new delivery method will meet the objective. THEN when the LC /Parent can actually sit down and help the child work through the submission in a collaborative effort. something that I do find myself doing weekly with the moodle/blackboard/angel format. The student writes the paper, I edit it as a publication editor, they revise it, I edit it again, they revise it again. Once it is approved by myself, they can submit it. so while the child is doing the work, the parent is much more hands on in guiding the learning process, it is not just a free spirited relationship between the student and the teacher, but between the parent and the student, and eventually the teacher receives the submission for final evaluation.

The next post suggests that instead of leaving the child to flounder and guess, but for the parent to get off the chair and actually map out a procedures for success.  DD#1 has four courses. each one has some assignments in this folder, some submissions in that folder, some online blogging to respond to other classmates, some printed submissions, some electronic submissions, some online exams, some using myitlab, as well as some where they go to the school, check in with ID, and take a phyiscal exam. Parents can help set up a spreadsheet as a road map to help them check each area every day or other day. Since it is easy to miss assignments, helping to set up a schedule of where to go and what to do electronically is just as important now days in a digital campus as much as it was 20 years ago when it was all physical syllabus and campuses. so tell in the child to work harder is not the point, what is the point is that the parent help train the child how to set up the procedures so that eventually they understand how to build their own procedure document.

In our own home we have a Friday academic well child visit, if they are on target, they are able to take personal time on the weekend, if they are not, they have until Sunday to rectify that situation. it may seem to be harsh, but there is no free times until all work is completed. we may work 9 am to 9 pm M-F, but if we are not on target then we keep working. I would not suggest that anyone do more than their best, but for us, the method that we take is this. each child will have to dig a trench, 1 ft wide, 1 ft deep, and 10 ft long. each child has their own tool. one may have a shovel, one may have a back hoe, and one may have a spoon, but all will complete the trench in the end.
failure (here at least) is not an option.  that will be the case in 3-8, 9-12, and 13-18. if the child does not know HOW to study, and mine that went through pubic school did not, I enrolled them in how to study in school the first semester. it was the only civilized thing to do. do not set them to a task if you are not going to equip them with tools.

I really can not speak for any other households, but here we are used to working 18 hours a day. when we drive cross country, it is an 18 hour day, when we work at home, it is an 18 hour day. we do not watch the clock and go, oh, darn, the kids have been learning for X number of hours. My philosophy is work until you are done, or until you can not stay awake anymore. we do balance our days with family, volunteering, and physical activities. the academic push though, is primary. since we are all involved in school, it is our social activity. the olders are at work or studying, the middle schoolers run two computers at the same time, one for skype with friends or Class Connects, and one for k12 and working simultaneous.

I do not know how other people got through school, my dad laughed that he didn't crack a book, he was gifted. my mom, was educated beyond her intelligence, she had to read a text book 3 times to get a "C", I tend to follow her example.  if it takes 12-18 hours a day to get an education, then it is worth it.  while some parents may not want to push their kids that hard, they may think that is cruel, and they can do that.  It should be noted that there is one family that is willing to work beyond expectations to get an education.  so I would say that while we may have lower intelligence, we compensate with strong work ethic.

the qualities that we are working towards are not influenced by what other people think, but what we believe is necessary to succeed. it is not a slap in the face to others that feel that a 10 hour day is enough.
we just hope that others do not think that the minimum is the only solution.  I totally agree, that not every parent should insist on 'A', and let the student accept a "C" even, what works for each family will be as different as discipline or religion, or any other freedom of choice.

to compare what one family with spec needs does vs what another family with G&T child is really not fair.  each child is unique and each child has their own threshold of tolerance. I can not imagine asking anyone else to have to schedule physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, aquatic therapy on top of the tutoring, the work samples, the class connects, course adjustments, 504 meetings, individualized education planning meetings, sensory diet accommodations, psychological meetings, the study island blue ribbons, and everything else that goes with TXVA, so I do it myself. My husband tried to once, but he was challenged to even get a benchmark done on his own. so ultimately, it is easier to do it myself than to assign it to anyone else.

when I say 'we' I mean this country as a whole. our country is beyond blessed. not every country has free education. not every country has paper and pencils.  we studied Egypt last year, 50% literacy rate, and for women even less. 50% to me is just criminal. but even more so is that we have a drop out rate here of 75% in some areas. how can kids that do not have a choice but have to drop out and go to work in one country, still have the fortitude to get an education after working a 12 hour day, study through the night and yet in this country, kids are allowed to give up and walk away because it is too hard.

I tell my own kids, it is not too hard, it is a matter of desire. if you do not know how, we will find out how, if you do not know where, we will find out where. We are not going to quit because they change the rules, because the raise the bar, because you do not feel like it.  I do not care if my kid's feelings get hurt, or their self esteem is bruised.  After watching the Ultimate Gift, I can see how tough love creates the best results. I am probably guilty of the old school guilty that if you get an education, work hard, you will be successful. I can not shake the believe after seeing how my parents and my husband have done just that. I have an unshakable belief in that process. It was drove me through high school and college.  To be ferociously determined is the only way I know and the only method that I accept from my own children.

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