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  1. #1
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default A mother's lament

    Sometimes I feel like DS1 has too many strikes against him. His continuous glucose sensing device just went off and told me that his blood sugar was low. So here I am at midnight, taking care of it, giving him a juice box. It happens all the time, despite our best efforts. His blood sugar will need to be monitored all day, every day as long as he lives and sometimes that gets to me. I can't imagine how he feels about it. Does he even recognize the kind of pressure that that adds? Then on top of that, today I found out that although he qualified for the advanced math class at his school, he won't be allowed to take it. His teacher and the administrators feel that he is too disorganized and not motivated enough. The disorganization thing bugs me, because he does have a 504 for ADHD and that's kind of the central issue of his disability. But the motivation? That's pretty much him. And it is true, he is not motivated. I feel like honestly despite his health challenges and his ADHD, he could succeed if he really wanted to. If he only had the drive.

    But he doesn't have it. And that's who he is right now and that worries me more than all the other things. I'd like to have the luxury of thinking "the drive will come" and maybe it will. I think it will come more slowly if I force him and prod him before he is ready. I think to really want it he has to WANT it. I just feel like I've been wondering when that magical line gets crossed between elementary education with a purpose to "love learning" and "develop natural curiosity" and High School with its sifting process leading to college and apparently it happens right now, in 8th grade. When the school that has no GATE program, no awards, no special recognitions, no students of the month, suddenly decides that there is an elite group of 13 yos that can be part of accelerated math, which will directly affect which math levels can be achieved in High School and subsequently will affect competitiveness for college. But he doesn't care about it yet, even though it matters. Because he's 13 and emotionally he's much younger. He's still thinking about pokemon and the upcoming Ninjago Movie theatrical release.

    So the truth is, as my family has been telling me this evening, success in life doesn't really depend on college, certainly not on high school and absolutely not on 8th grade! Maybe the truth is that I'm sad that my son won't have my experience as part of this elite little cadre of top students, for whom school comes so easily. It might not be rational but I feel like if he doesn't start moving with these top students, he won't really ever make it there. I think I'm mourning this because for so many years, there WAS no cadre. The inevitability of academic differentiation was hidden for so long behind what is essentially a lie that school is only about experiences and learning. And I don't really think those things are a lie! I still believe that intellectual curiosity is the backbone of successful scholarship. But the truth is that our school system does eventually start to separate kids out by ability. Which was fine for me. Because I was at the top. But now my child isn't at the top. Partly because he doesn't want to be. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. And it hurts.

    So I'm awake feeling super sorry for myself and mourning the experiences I fear my child won't ever have.

  2. #2
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Does he want to take the math class? If so, I would fight the school on that one. It isn't their place to make that kind of judgment unless he's disruptive in class. He likely won't get more motivated (I didn't), but he should be able to take a class for which he qualifies if he wants to. (I wasn't motivated, but I loved learning and taking accelerated courses--even when I wasn't getting the best grades. Taking a lower level would have been mind-numbing, and I wouldn't have been any more likely to do the work--probably less so. And I wouldn't have accessed the higher-level coursework. Better to have that access and not be at the top than to be bored AND not at the top.)

    I used to think students who hadn't shown the work ethic should be barred from honors (or similar) classes, but I've realized I was wrong. (Speaking as a teacher, parent, and former lazy student.)

    I don't know what to say about the health issues except to point out that 100 years ago (or so?), there was nothing to help your son. Now there are so many options. Hopefully soon there will be even better options and he won't have to face a life of constant monitoring. Hopefully soon there will be a cure.

    Sorry, I guess this is the BP--feel free to ignore.

    ETA: In case you didn't ignore, I wanted to add that you can't really separate the ADHD from the lack of drive. The mental energy required to function in the world as a disorganized person didn't leave much to put into being "driven." But people with ADHD tend to be smart, creative, and collaborative (as you probably already know), and they can learn to build on those skills to find other paths in the world. It's not necessarily lack of drive, just an inability to figure out Step 1. Which manifests as not caring because the work never gets done because the ADHD person truly does not know how to get started. Or how to get finished. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.
    Last edited by sariana; 08-22-2017 at 04:14 AM.
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  3. #3
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sariana View Post
    Does he want to take the math class? If so, I would fight the school on that one. It isn't their place to make that kind of judgment unless he's disruptive in class. He likely won't get more motivated (I didn't), but he should be able to take a class for which he qualifies if he wants to. (I wasn't motivated, but I loved learning and taking accelerated courses--even when I wasn't getting the best grades. Taking a lower level would have been mind-numbing, and I wouldn't have been any more likely to do the work--probably less so. And I wouldn't have accessed the higher-level coursework. Better to have that access and not be at the top than to be bored AND not at the top.)

    I used to think students who hadn't shown the work ethic should be barred from honors (or similar) classes, but I've realized I was wrong. (Speaking as a teacher, parent, and former lazy student.)

    I don't know what to say about the health issues except to point out that 100 years ago (or so?), there was nothing to help your son. Now there are so many options. Hopefully soon there will be even better options and he won't have to face a life of constant monitoring. Hopefully soon there will be a cure.

    Sorry, I guess this is the BP--feel free to ignore.

    ETA: In case you didn't ignore, I wanted to add that you can't really separate the ADHD from the lack of drive. The mental energy required to function in the world as a disorganized person didn't leave much to put into being "driven." But people with ADHD tend to be smart, creative, and collaborative (as you probably already know), and they can learn to build on those skills to find other paths in the world. It's not necessarily lack of drive, just an inability to figure out Step 1. Which manifests as not caring because the work never gets done because the ADHD person truly does not know how to get started. Or how to get finished. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.
    I'm not upset for your reply. I appreciate your perspective. From past posts, I know you are posting from a place of experience.

    I'm going to just talk to DS1 today and see where his heart is. My plan is to be really positive and take this as an opportunity to let him take risks and try hard things. It is amazing what a little bit of rest and a good conversation with my sister can bring. He might still choose not to do this class but I'm just not going to let this be the defining moment of his education. I really needed to write this out last night so I'm grateful for this forum!

  4. #4
    baymom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I can really appreciate how you must feel. I'm sorry that you're going through this. Your DS is so lucky to have you for an advocate. I can't really speak to his health challenges, but wanted to share another perspective on advanced math. My DS is also in 8th grade. He is taking Algebra I this year but qualified to concurrently take Geometry as a zero period. DH and I chose (above his protests) to NOT let him take the advanced math. At least 2 other friends also didn't let their kids take it, either. They are still young, they have their whole lives to take the challenging classes. I want him to have time to be a kid in middle school--it's not going to determine if he gets into an elite college weather or not he took geometry as an 8th grader, IMO. He is a perfectionist and highly motivated, but also has some anxiety struggles because of that. I'm mostly concerned about his mental health. But, it's hard, as I'm always second guessing these choices, just like every other parent. I know if he took the class, he would have done well and been ahead a year when he gets to HS next year. All this just to say that all different types of students may take or not take advanced math in middle school and in the end, it should be just fine.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sariana View Post
    Does he want to take the math class? If so, I would fight the school on that one. It isn't their place to make that kind of judgment unless he's disruptive in class. He likely won't get more motivated (I didn't), but he should be able to take a class for which he qualifies if he wants to.
    But what if the class has more students who qualify than spaces? If he's not motivated (which I read as uninterested) and the teachers know, I kind of get where they're coming from. Although, I do a agree that saying it's because he's disorganized is lame, since he's got a 504 for ADHD. They should be giving him help for that.
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
    6/08 - Preemies no more!

  6. #6
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinFoxes View Post
    But what if the class has more students who qualify than spaces? If he's not motivated (which I read as uninterested) and the teachers know, I kind of get where they're coming from. Although, I do a agree that saying it's because he's disorganized is lame, since he's got a 504 for ADHD. They should be giving him help for that.
    The class is small. Just 20. And some of those selected won't be taking the class for a variety of reasons.

    Today I let him decide. I encouraged him strongly to try the class. I told him he could fit there. He could thrive, he could learn to work hard, he could master the material. He said "I can tell you want me to be in the class, Mom" and I told him that yes I did want him to be there but that I would honestly and truly leave it up to him whether he wants to try the class or not. After a lot of deliberation (including prayer) he decided he didn't want to. And I'm going to respect that. My sister talked to me and let me see that not taking this class doesn't mean that he'll never have a chance to do well in school. I hope that is true. I know that part of ADHD is a kind of generalized immaturity. He'll catch up in a few years. I hope it is enough time.

    My sister helped me see that I was afraid that he's following in DH's footsteps. DH is successful but he was 31 before he achieved his bachelors degree. He could fall somewhere between me (scholarship to 4 year University) and DH, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Or he could follow DH and it would still be okay. And she also said it isn't time to stress out too much yet. He could change a lot this year and it is only 8th grade. I think she is right.

  7. #7
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by baymom View Post
    I can really appreciate how you must feel. I'm sorry that you're going through this. Your DS is so lucky to have you for an advocate. I can't really speak to his health challenges, but wanted to share another perspective on advanced math. My DS is also in 8th grade. He is taking Algebra I this year but qualified to concurrently take Geometry as a zero period. DH and I chose (above his protests) to NOT let him take the advanced math. At least 2 other friends also didn't let their kids take it, either. They are still young, they have their whole lives to take the challenging classes. I want him to have time to be a kid in middle school--it's not going to determine if he gets into an elite college weather or not he took geometry as an 8th grader, IMO. He is a perfectionist and highly motivated, but also has some anxiety struggles because of that. I'm mostly concerned about his mental health. But, it's hard, as I'm always second guessing these choices, just like every other parent. I know if he took the class, he would have done well and been ahead a year when he gets to HS next year. All this just to say that all different types of students may take or not take advanced math in middle school and in the end, it should be just fine.
    Thank you baymom. I wanted DS to have a chance to feel like he could be like your DS. I don't think it was the class that he wanted or needed so much as the chance to be part of a top group. He has opted not to take the class but I feel very satisfied that he at least knows he's good at math and feels like he's towards the top of the class. I want him to continue to be confident and to enjoy math so that's at least a win.

  8. #8
    sariana is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by bisous View Post
    The class is small. Just 20. And some of those selected won't be taking the class for a variety of reasons.

    Today I let him decide. I encouraged him strongly to try the class. I told him he could fit there. He could thrive, he could learn to work hard, he could master the material. He said "I can tell you want me to be in the class, Mom" and I told him that yes I did want him to be there but that I would honestly and truly leave it up to him whether he wants to try the class or not. After a lot of deliberation (including prayer) he decided he didn't want to. And I'm going to respect that. My sister talked to me and let me see that not taking this class doesn't mean that he'll never have a chance to do well in school. I hope that is true. I know that part of ADHD is a kind of generalized immaturity. He'll catch up in a few years. I hope it is enough time.

    My sister helped me see that I was afraid that he's following in DH's footsteps. DH is successful but he was 31 before he achieved his bachelors degree. He could fall somewhere between me (scholarship to 4 year University) and DH, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Or he could follow DH and it would still be okay. And she also said it isn't time to stress out too much yet. He could change a lot this year and it is only 8th grade. I think she is right.
    The respect you showed him for making his own choice will be a much longer-lasting lesson than anything he could learn in a math class. Good job, Momma!
    DS '04 "Boogaboo"
    DD '08 "Lilybear"

  9. #9
    MMMommy is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    You are a wonderful mother and advocate for your son. I don't have anything wise to contribute, but I just wanted you to know that I can see how much you love, respect, and care for your son.

  10. #10
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    I get it. It's difficult to see potential but how much do you push? I would've wanted to be in that advanced class, but my DS wouldn't. He would make the same decision as your DS. They have to want it too, unless you're prepared to push all the time. It's a balancing act between do they want it themselves and if we as a parent should insist.






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