Friday, March 07, 2008

Like Sands Through the Hourglass, These are the Days of Our Lives

I'm seriously considering enrolling Neo in a home school program for next year. She's been taking placement tests, which is a bit disconcerting to her as she's not testing out as well as she would have expected. (I think she KNOWS the concepts, but is unaware of the vocabulary that goes along with them. Therefore on a "fill in the blank" test, she can't recognize some of the vocabulary linked to the concepts themselves. Ah, well, it will all come out in the wash.) She's an A student in 7th grade math, and this curriculum already warned us that they're about a year ahead of California. She tests as being at the 5th grade level. That stings when you're bright and accomplished. But she's doing well on the language arts stuff. She does know her pronouns, but not any other grammatical rules. Sigh. More to learn.

I think I just hit the wall along with her. Every time we talk about stuff, she's dying to learn more. But there's not much of anything going on for her. I used to worry about her not being social, but she's stepped that up quite a bit too. These pics are from about a month ago. She was so bored in class, she decided to "henna" her hand. I think they're quite cool. She's found a good group of friends, and she meets up with them after school (Finally!) and on weekends. I'm pretty confident that stepping her out of the school environment to kick her brain into gear isn't going to affect those friendships. One of her friends is looking into the program himself as it is.

Up top there is her most recent piece of artwork. These days she's really blowing me out of the water. At the Wondercon a few weekends ago, Dear Butcher bought her a manga graphics program. Currently she takes her pencil sketches and scan them into Photoshop to create images such as this:

With the manga studio program, she can add preloaded textures or tones, and create panels for mange creations. Compare the portrait at the top to the green one here from late last year. She's jumping ahead. Now if she can only learn what the associative property is in math, we'll be all set. (Just kidding.)

In other daily news on the "Kidlet" front. Dear Butcher and I visited an intensive therapeutic educational program run jointly by county mental health and a neighboring school district. There would be professionals working with him, not untrained mommies. There are psychologists right there to help kids when they start rolling out of control. There are four adults for every ten children--very small classes. But then there's some other stuff which is difficult to process. The padded room. The violence of the other children. I dunno. Still churning away on that one. Maybe he really is a candidate for this program. His psychologist recommends it. His psychiatrist recommends against it. Sigh. Thing is, I'm sure I'll never make the right decisions all the time for all my children.


Bev(BB) said...

Two thoughts.

Have the psychologist and the psychiatrist told you the specifics about their views on that program? I mean, putting the two viewpoints together might be extremely enlightening, particularly when they'r so opposing.

And the other thing that comes to mind is that we can never make the right decisions for all our children all the time, Suisan. And sometimes, as bad as it sounds, we have to give ourselves permission to simply make one for our own benefit. Don't be afraid to do that, either. Seems to me that if you could find a decent program that gives you even a temporary break from dealing with the school system, that wouldn't be a bad thing for you or your son. A simple change in perspective can mean a lot sometimes all the way around.

Hang in there.

Chris said...

I'm with Bev - finding out why the psychs disagree might make the decision easier. And you can't make the right decisions for our kids all the time, for the simple fact that sometimes what's best for one person isn't best for the others. Sometimes you have to make the choice the does the greatest good for the family as a whole. And sometimes you have to make the choice because it's the only one you can live with.

Besides, even if you did make the absolute best choice every time, your kids will still find things to complain about when they're grown up.

Doug said...

Neo's talent? Leaps. Bounds. Both.

I'm trying to place the style in that topmost self portrait. Reminds me of a graphic artist from the 70s, but I can't remember who!

Suisan said...

Psychologist hasn't been super clear on the details of why she recommends. However, she feels, as do I, that a lot of Saul's behavior is a learned response. So he's tantruming to get away from anxiety-producing moments, and he's taught himself or others have trained him that the earlier he tantrums then the lower his anxiety level ever gets. Which means that he's not ever *in* a situation long enough to try out any of the cognitive coping skills she's trying to develop with him.

The psychiatrist's eyebrows went into his hairline when we mentioned the program. Saul was in the room, but when his back was to the psychiatrist the psychiatrist pointed to Saul, furrowed his brow, shook his head "no" and said, "I see many children from that program." Later on he briefly said, "The behaviors he'll see there could cause him a lot more anxiety than he's ready for."

I forget exactly what else he said, but he hinted that a number of them were abused at home and that Saul could learn behaviors from them that would be hard to break into, such as scratching or tearing at oneself.

I respect both people very much. And I'll go back and forth for a while.

On the other hand, after writing this, Saul had another violent episode last night. So, uh, yeah. Looks like the county program is in our future.