MCR - THANK YOU. I guess I was feeling very alone in all this. I appreciate your hand in friendship and your empathy. The frustration and anger in me is obviously about my own stuff (and my hormones lol), but it's so nice to know that others have gotten through this kind of hard issue and not lost connection with their dc. He sounds like a wonderful (if hard-headed) young man! Well done!
GuildJenn - THANKS to you too!!
You brought some really big issues up that I hadn't given much time to (because other issues were clouding the way, perhaps - it's so great to have rational people to discuss this stuff with!!!), and I will be sure to give it more time in the next couple of days. I don't think the exam results at this age are that dramatic, it's not really a pass/fail kind of test I don't think - more of an assessment of what's been learned in a % vs. state average kind of way. Failure means she has failed to learn it according to their average, their questions, etc. In general I think these exams need to be taken (by the parents, at least) with a nice big grain of salt. But I also think there is a grain of truth to them, even if they are not especially accurate. I don't think not doing well on them will be any more of a motivation to her than all the other stuff going on inside the classroom, socially and academically. I dunno - I've got no crystal ball - but I kinda doubt it would magically give her a sense of responsibility for learning.
And I think, at least in part, this IS about her taking responsibility and learning stuff. Learning how to take care of herself (vitamins, nutrition, etc.), how to give thanks to those who are kind to us (not a perfunctory thank you, but eye contact, etc.), learning school work, learning domestic skills. She just doesn't want to grow up and have more responsibility, and that scares me a lot. I feel very nervous that I have somehow failed to give her something important in raising her, and she therefore chooses the easiest possible avenue every single time. Not necessarily a path of least resistance, either (as this well shows!), just 'easy' vs. having to do something that is hard for her. A different example might be that she LOVES to rock climb - bouldering, indoor climbing etc. But she will NOT do lateral climbs, and refuses to do any climb that challenges her. It's clearly not fear, she's climbed over 60 feet - but the climb itself was easy. No big reaches, nothing challenging in that way. She takes aikido and loves it, but NEVER practices, so she's about 2 stripes/belts behind the kids she started with (the other kids are 2stripe blue belts and she's a 2stripe yellow belt now), but she really does love it. She goes 2x a week, enjoys the kids, the sensai, and progress, etc. But will NOT practice. And the sensai has spoken to her about it, that she will move more slowly because he can tell she isn't practicing etc. Most of those kids are figuring out ways to improve and practice on their own, she just chooses not to. I told her when she started that for me just her going and being willing to learn was totally fine - and that if she decided at some point that she didn't like it and wanted to stop that would be ok with me. So I don't think it's about me at all - but it's relatively easy for her to show up to class and do the moves with a low level of mastery - because she's smart and strong and agile - but she is way WAY slower to master new moves because she chooses to wait until the next class to practice. And the class keeps moving on! I think she just is very willful and when she likes something she likes it, and will do it happily (but not necessarily practice) and when she doesn't like something enough, she just refuses it altogether.
You are both right, and it's not news to me, that giving her any kind of ultimatum is not going to work - not her style firstly, and not productive in the long term, secondly. But giving her ownership of it doesn't seem to have worked either. At the end of last year, after getting her half a dozen different manipulatives at a significant cost to our limited budget, spending a ton of time with her on them, and generally doing things her way, it's gotten us no closer. Well, I shouldn't say NO closer - she knows her 10x tables and some of the 5x tables and the 11's.
She knew them last year too. I guess I was really hoping that something would click in her brain that would make learning these less torturous, and that doesn't seem to be happening at ALL.
There are some things I am in general not happy about w/her choices in other subjects, but overall I am SO thrilled with her as a person, as a daughter, as a child, she is often incredibly kind, empathetic, a delight to have around, a fun and generally easy friend, and wonderful partner watching fun movies, reading aloud, playing games (though anything requiring concentration like, say, monopoly, scrabble jr., etc. are not a lot of fun w/her), etc. She's loved by so many people because she is so fun and bright - really all she wants is to play play play!
And there is the rub. Sometimes she's just gotta buckle down and learn, and she just doesn't want to. When I asked her to go to her room (where it was reasonably quiet w/2 three yo's running amock downstairs) about an hour after she was home from school to start on the FOUR equations (6x7,8x8, 4x8 and 7x8) we had agreed (SHE had suggested) she learn today, she did go to her room, pulled out paper dolls and played for 30 min. When I went to check ('cause 30 min is a long time for her to be up there w/out popping back downstairs) and saw she was playing I got mad. I may have been better off NOT getting mad, but it seems to push a button for me that she has no desire to learn this stuff. She really doesn't. But she IS very upset at the label the other children at school have given her. But she won't learn it. But she doesn't like being the class dummy. But she won't learn it. But she doesn't like getting being the last picked for math teams, but she won't learn it... bad cycle she's in. Allowing her to own it is not getting her ANYwhere.
Mamatoady, she has memorized lots of things, including some fairly long passages, loads of song lyrics, the girl scout promise and law, and lines for plays. She cold recite 1-100 forward and backwards at about 3.5, and has no trouble sequencing. She CAN multiply by counting or using manipulatives. It's just too slow for doing more advanced stuff, which is where she has to get to in order to stop the bad feelings she is getting from her peers. They aren't name calling in front of any teachers, or anything like that, but there are loads of subtle ways kids have to make another kid feel dumb, out of it, etc.
She is very bouncy, and moves a lot. No one is telling her to literally SIT and learn this stuff. Whatever she needs to do she can do. She's had 6 teachers over the past year and a half work with her in their Montessori sort of ways on the tables, and none of them have hit on her 'thing', if there is one.
None of them, however, have EVER made her sit down and write them out and write them out... that's just not the Montessori way. kwim? So THAT's the connection that I'm worried about - is the method causing part of the problem? If she were in a more regimented program, would it actually help her? Create firmer boundaries with both assistance and consequences? I don't know. We've not really explored it much.
Karne, it's possible we will look further into this. I don't know that they will peg her at this time, but she's getting further behind by the month now. I have no need or expectation that she be the head of the class, but the average kid in her class is quite a bit further along (according to her teacher) than she is, and he's concerned and frustrated as well. So maybe he'd be a more willing teacher in the eval. process. I found her 1st grade teachers not especially helpful in that regard. It's a great suggestion, and one I'd tabled last year for some reason - maybe frustration w/her teacher? In general she's not behind, just in maths and just in memorizing these stupid tables. She totally gets how to do the math, so can do long division (though it takes her some time), basic fractions and weights/measures. None of it is what I'd call EASY for her, but she does understand the concepts. Maybe there is something else going on that some good tutoring or OT or something would help resolve for her.?? I think I gave up thinking there is a simple (though probably not easy) fix to all this...sigh.
Angela, I found your comments lacking any wisdom or help at all. If ever I am looking for negative comments, though, I will be sure to look you up!