Let's put it this way:
Her eighth grade class voted her most likely to become a Dictionary Editor!Halfway through the year she decided to take a vacation. She said she had been doing this stuff since 9th grade and she was just sick of it. She was in class every day. She read all the assigned books and finished them in days while the rest of the class took weeks to read through them and do assignments in sections. She didn't do the accompanying work. I think she drew pictures instead. If she didn't do well on a test her excuse was: "I finished it almost two months ago how am I supposed to remember all the details now. She should have just given me the test when I finished the book."
If I suggested she just take her time and do it along with the class in stages her answer was: "Why? It's stupid. I'd rather just get it finished."
Early in the year I contacted her teacher by email about some issues she would face with Middlest and the best way to deal with her and tactics for getting the most out of her. I tried to give her a clear understanding of how Middlest operates from things Middlest has told me herself ( For instance she does not work well in groups and is capable of meltdowns when trying to deal with others ) and from what I have experienced while raising my child for 16 years. I told her that I expected Middlest to take responsiblity for herself and that I would not be hovering and passing the class for her but that I would be "paying attention to what her assignments are and whether she was keeping up" . I told her that Middlest would be obtuse and (tried to find a nice way to describe) arrogant and at the same time she thrived on praise but that she would flat out quit if she felt discouraged in her efforts. The answer I received-contradicted me,- "the quotes are my thoughts",- with an opinion on how she knew the kids should be responsible but sometimes just needed a little push, "
The classes were concentrated on analyzing and finding meaning in the works and writing essays. Middlest often takes a different turn from what is accepted as obvious. She has very strong opinions and she isn't going to change them because someone else sees things another way. She is Masterful in composing essays. She knows what the teachers are looking for but often she would rather get an F than compromise her own reasoning. She will enjoy arguing her point if it is taken in to consideration. She will not concede to another point if it is a matter of interpretation. Her reasoning, this IS what it means to ME. Therefore it can't be incorrect "for me".
As an exaggerated example: If she decided Tom Sawyer was really an Alien she would write a perfectly executed essay with precise details and clear reasoning on how she came to this conclusion.
So anyway.....If she is not getting credit because she is asked to write an essay that asks for an interpretation and then her opinion is deemed wrong she gets an attitude. She will read the assigned work and skip doing all the assignments and just pass any technical tests because honestly she did learn all this stuff 3 years ago and she really is tired of it.
The result; She failed the second semester. Her final exam score was a 36%. Do I believe she scored this badly? I actually am not so sure. She has never scored that low on any test and she said that she wasn't presented with much she wasn't familiar with and was truly surprised with that grade. If she had done well on the test she would have passed the class with a D. Perhaps the grading was a matter of interpretation ; )
Did I question her score? No. It's possible she completely flubbed it but,
She took her 1st round junior year SAT cold with no preparation or studying at all and scored Very Well.
I will be very interested next month to see what she scored on the official AP exam for the class that gives them college credit if they pass it. It is a very difficult test and I am told they usually don't do well when they take them in Junior year but it's good practice.
So while I am very proud of her smarts I am also frustrated as hell with her behavior.
She sat around while other students worked their butts off. She deserved some kind of repercussion. I don't know if her teacher felt this too or if the protocol was that a D would have set her GPA low and passing summer school which is a standard class would give her a much higher score in the end.
I didn't question it because of the reasons above.
She did summer school for math a couple years ago and really didn't care that she had to. Now she is older and had a little more to lose, like time with her boyfriend, OR Like our family vacation. Which we now cannot take because the classes started the only week we would have free. We are not always able to go on one but thought we could manage it this year. ( digression while I take a moment to weep in self pity) I am lucky to live where I do. Other people come to places like this for vacation. But I am ungrateful. I have been wading through heat and humidity 8 months of the year for my entire life. Endless greenery with no change in scenery. If I never saw another palm tree in my life I would be pleased. The first time I remember seeing a mountain I was 8 years old and I fell in love. I have been pining ever since. The thought of it can bring tears to my eyes. But no.
(We had to think of something else to amuse us and keep us busy, more about that next week)
Summer school is an online course where they can work at their own pace but are required to attend 3 hours at school in the morning and estimate at least 3 to 4 hours a day will be necessary from home afterwards to complete the course within 6 weeks.
I thought that since I was not getting out of here for awhile (which can seriously make me insane) she really deserved to have to get up early and be in class at 7 a.m. and spend her days doing English since she seemed to think she was above it. I figured if we were going to suffer she certainly Deserved To Suffer too. No sleeping in, No beach. School night hours. Pay for being a slacker. Since it was only one semester it probably wouldn't take her the whole time but at least she would be learning a lesson.
So she started the course this Monday and she called me an hour early Friday to pick her up because......
she was finished....She scored an A. If she had goofed off for the entire year she could have fixed it in Gasp!...2 Weeks!
This whole thing is ridiculous. It was 1st come 1st serve and always ends with a waiting list so I knew to be there early to sign her up. Some kid who is really struggling could have used that seat. Hopefully one will get in without being a week behind making it more difficult. She also did ok in math this year but is very weak in the subject and would have benefited more from extra work in that.
4 1/2 months of slacking fixed by 4 1/2 days of work.
Just long enough to lose my vacation.
What did this experience teach her?
That She Really Does Know It All
She piddled around in Chemistry most of the year and passed because this teacher has some radical ideas about individual learning and when he saw she wasn't participating and would certainly fail the class he actually accomodated her with extra credit work that would draw her interest, within his syllabus. She managed to ace the final and her teacher gave her extra classwork points for drawing him a frameable quality comic strip titled:
" How to Fail Chemistry."
Her German 2 teacher did everything he could by giving her extra points every time she wore cowboy boots to school and we had a pretty decent winter to give her the chance to wear them but not often enough, so that didn't work out too well. She will be giving up an elective next year to retake the class.
Bragging about her smarts doesn't make her use them. Nagging about her smarts doesn't slightly move them.
And yeah, I tried crying too but that didn't work either......
Someone tell me you have horribly frustrating kids too......otherwise I'll just keep whining.....because we have a whole Senior year to get through......
UPDATE: She made a qualifying grade on the AP exam. She passed it.
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