Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Feeling like I'm putting out fires

Lately I feel like I just keep putting out one fire after another. I'm always trying to stay on top of things with my kids and that includes checking in with them and their grades. We recently decided to make the move to no video games during the week because they were rushing through assignments to play their games. That means our lists have been off the fridge.

It's been more chaotic around here.

Yep--stating the obvious.

Anyhow I haven't had as much time at home because of all the errands and appointments I've had to get to. Last week I finally dragged myself to two stores to return a Christmas present and some snow boots I had picked up which were the wrong size. I had a third and fourth item at two additional stores, but I forgot one of the receipts and the kids had moved one of the bags with the items. I frankly gave up on returning the party favors from the fall because my 90 days to exchange had long expired.

Last week I also had to take Whirlwind in for an early appointment to the orthodontist. He had been chewing on a pen cap and had dislodged the bracket on one of his front teeth. Lawboy had an appointment with a LCSW at our favorite autism medical facility (2 hours away) and Firstborn had an all-day youth activity on Saturday for which I had to write tons of emails and coordinate the carpool. DH drove and was gone all of Saturday too. Fortunately we had all done most of the cleaning on Friday, so though I was down two helpers, I still managed to work on catching up some things--including this blog.

In the midst of our Friday appointments and cleaning, (DH made dinner-how awesome is he?), Lawboy forgot about some key homework he needed to do. He remembered Sunday evening. Fortunately it wasn't due until yesterday. The homework? The final draft of a massive research project they've been working on for months.

In my dream world Lawboy would use the flash drive I gave him, pull up the rough draft he turned in one month ago, and just revise based upon insightful comments the teacher made on his returned project. In my reality Lawboy has lost his flash drive, found it, and accidentally sent it through the wash. I put it into a bowl of rice--hoping we could salvage it the way we salvaged his iPod, but I have no clue if it worked since he promptly lost it again. Unbeknownst to me, he has been borrowing his sister's flash drive the last couple of weeks.

For the icing on the cake, the family computer which had saved the rough draft on kept crashing. We couldn't pull anything off of it.

Fortunately I have my laptop, but basically he had to start from scratch. He didn't realize he could look at his returned rough draft, type it, and then alter it.

It being Monday, I got him started, and then helped the other kids get going on their homework, practicing, etc. Princess Ballerina had her piano lesson, and she and Acroboy had a gymnastics class this's week. I pick up Firstborn and our neighbor from school and we also had family night. I kept checking on Lawboy to make sure he was working, but we were quite far into the evening before I realized how little he had accomplished since he didn't even have his rough draft in front of him. I asked him if he knew what a research paper was supposed to look like, and he did not. I showed him an example online.

While Lawboy kept working, I dug through his bag and folders to find the rough draft. It had been awhile since we had cleaned out his bag and it was a mess. Even though there are supposed to be divisions, things were completely mixed up. I eventually found two papers related to the project, but there was so little information/work done, there were not many useful comments.

We sent Lawboy to bed.

The next morning we got him up at his usual time and set him to work. After getting his siblings off to school, I worked with more with him. I explained footnotes, attributing quotes and more. I even had to explain punctuation. I knew he had trouble with some of these things, but until we worked closely on this project, I didn't realize the full extent of his troubles. So now we have to sit down and create a plan of action to help him improve his weaknesses.

Do we get him a personal tutor? I can work with him on my own, but I'm not sure how effective I will be with all of the inevitable interruptions. Suggestions are welcome. This is a fire I need to work on immediately before it gets out-of-control.

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