I’ve written about the Boy Child here and here. He is now in the 5th grade and next year will be in middle school.
He’s never had it easy in school – it just doesn’t come as naturally to him as the Girl Child. It’s always a little bit harder, like it just doesn’t quite click. The reading part has finally clicked, once he found the Warriors cat series. If I could hug Erin Hunter, I would. He reads for hours now. Without nagging.
He has a special love for cats. He desperately wants a cat, and that has been his motivator when it comes to homework. Considering we have this beast, we are trying to figure out ways to make this happen.
Sometimes, though, the cat is not enough. So we practice extra math online, hoping to increase math fact fluency. I think it is beginning to work, but time before middle school is running out, so we are doing a little tutoring once a week with a friend who is a teacher. She can give me insight professionally – should I be worried about ADD or a learning disability? She says it’s probably just a maturity thing, and to keep practicing.
The problem though is the tutoring. He thinks having a tutor makes him “dumb”. We have gone round and round about this, me trying to explain he is plenty smart and lots of kid have tutors, even kids we know. I think he has come to accept our friend helping him, mostly because he thinks it will help him get a cat, but she can’t go on doing it forever.
So I found this place. It has a great reputation and can help him with writing too – another area he hates and struggles in. I told him about it last night, holding my breath. Explained it’s not like Sylvan or Kumon, which he thinks means you’re REALLY dumb (no, I don’t know why he thinks that). Then we started his math homework – 10 story problems with fractions. He did great on 9 of them, and then lost it. Said he couldn’t do it, too hard, blah blah. Which was nonsense since it was exactly like the other 9 he did pretty easily. On and on like this for 15 minutes, til he broke his pencil in half. I took his paper and said that was enough and went to cook dinner.
Then the heartbreaker – he brings his “night night” into the kitchen and said he was throwing it in the trash. I said if he did that, it was going in the garbage. He did, and I did. Of course, I stashed it somewhere between the kitchen and the garbage can, but he didn’t know that. A long, bad, sad night. He has had “night night” since he was born and sleeps with it still. He wrote a note to it last night, about it serving him well and it was time to party ways. I cried.
This morning I wrote him a note. Explained that getting a tutor actually means you are smart enough to know you need help and care enough to get it. That all I want is for him to be able to do his best at whatever he chooses, and that means he needs to do extra work now. That getting mad solves nothing. That I saved his night night and he can earn it back. That I love him very much.
We talked this morning, and he told me tutoring scares him. I know this. I told him he needs to think of the benefits and give it a chance, just like he did with our friend, which turned out to be not scary at all. That I will help him.
Getting over this hump will take hard work. He will need to fight for it, and right now he doesn’t want to.
But I do, and I will. All day. Every single day.