Sunday, May 18, 2014

Scholastic Update - Endeavouring to Persevere

Its been a few weeks since I started helping my friend's kindergartner get caught up in school and a progress report is in order.

We have a number of obstacles to overcome but we are making progress.

His parents recently divorced.  His dad's an alcoholic.  Now instead of an alcoholic dad, the kid has an alcoholic deadbeat dad.  Dad can't pay his child support but just bought a $45,000 diesel truck and was already behind on his child support when he did that.   The kid shuffles between two homes depending on who has custody on what day.  Can't help much there.

I'm scheduled to work with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  That usually works out on Tuesdays but Thursdays have been hit or miss.

The kid has a short attention span.   Think Calvin right after a double bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.    

Fortunately, I was about the same at his age so we work a little and goof off a little and work some more and goof off some more until homework is done.  I am officially authorized to use the dreaded fly-swatter on him but have not needed to do so. 

Spelling and writing have improved but are nowhere near where he should be.  We still have problems with some of the fundamentals like the difference between a lower case b and a lower case d.   We conquered the backwards S pretty easily but the backwards 5 has been more stubborn.   School will be over for the summer in a couple of weeks and he needs so many of the fundamentals that I don't see him getting up to snuff by the end of the year.  The teacher says he won't fail kindergarten so we will have the summer to get him straightened out.

The kid got a 61 on a spelling test that he could have aced.  He aced it three times with me.   In school, where it counted, he got a 61.  He said he did "OK."  It was an improvement.    He showed me a test with three questions on it.  He had to say what day it was, what day tomorrow was and what day yesterday was.  That was the whole test.  He showed it to me because he was proud of how well he did and then asked me what the -2 and the frowny face on it meant.   He didn't realize that he missed two of the three questions.   In a perfect world, someone should have taught him the days of the week before now and someone should have been involved enough with him to tell him how he is really doing.  The teacher left that up to me.  (I saw the test right after he took it and before the parents had a chance to see it).

He is doing better at spelling and putting sentences together.  He is making really good progress with reading comprehension.  Its a long row to hoe but he's moving in the right direction.

Math, on the other hand, is really impressive.  His homework isn't much of anything to an adult but they give the whole week's homework assignment to him on Monday.  We did the whole week's Math homework in half an hour. 

Half an hour!  That included a break to explain how fluorescent lights work because he noticed that one that was malfunctioning and looked like it was moving and a few minutes making a goofy picture of an old man with one tooth and a big nose out of his backwards #5.   Half an hour.  The kid ain't dumb. 

He doesn't resist doing his homework as much as he used to.  I think that's because he knows he won't get yelled at (momma's a little high-strung right now what with the divorce and all) and he has had some victories to build upon.

He's interested in tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes and lightening. 

He really liked the book I got him and has read it at least twice.

Momma is thinking about buying him a BB Gun.  I'm all for something like that but I think he's still a little impulsive for something that can put out an eye.   They live in town and have a small back yard so its not like he will be able to go on a BB Gun Safari in the back yard.   That could lead to trouble.  "Hey look, a bird; a cat; how'd it hit that window?"  (No, I'm not going to insert a picture of Ralphy).  I think something in an air-soft would be a better fit at his age.   Pending parental approval, I hope to get him set up with something in a 1911-ish style air-soft gun; just a plastic, spring type one; and a reactive target system this week.  

Show me a public school that will motivate a kid like that.


Phssthpok said...

"He's interested in tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes and lightening."

There's your 'in'. Play to the interests. See if you can track down some age appropriate (or, even better, just OVER) science books that deal with those topics for him to read.

When someone has a deep seated interest in something, there's not a lot that will stand in their way of learning about it, and in the process of learning about what he likes, he'll be improving his reading (language) skills as a side benefit.

Lantry said...

We looked as several library books along those lines. Haven't found one that really grabbed him though. Will likely do some more looking later today. I think that's going to be the key. Finding his interests and feeding them.