I may or may not be procrastinating on vacuuming right now...
Anyway. D has struggled with math since he moved in here. He has problems with some of the basics, things like borrowing, dividing, etc.
When he first moved in, we of course had ZERO experience parenting an 11 year old...and at this point in time we don't have much more, but maybe in the future we'll get more practice. :D Anyway, we always made sure he did his homework, but never actually looked at it. Then when I went to the quarterly parent-teacher conferences after the first quarter last year, it turned out he had an F in math! There was at least 1 test where he got like a 25%! So we freaked out, started grading his homework when he was done, and then had him re-do all the ones he got wrong. We also assigned him extra math homework, again grading it when he was done and having him fix any problems he missed. His teacher would email me when their tests would be, and we would drill him on the test material beforehand and make sure he understood what would be on the test.
Along the way we became sort of math tutors. We spent a LOT of time working with him, re-teaching him the basics that he ought to know already as well as teaching him the things he ought to be learning in class.
Well, this year it has been the same song, second verse. Tons of fighting because he thinks we don't understand how to do a problem such as 3X-5 = 2X + 5, lots and lots of time spent going over and over the same things with him, reteaching him the stuff he apparently forgot over the summer (for the record, I am a HUGE FAN of the idea of year-round schooling).
Well come to find out, last year's math teacher recommended that D be placed in the Pre-Algebra class, as opposed to to the normal 7th grade math class! So they moved him up?!?! When I talked to him about trying to get his class changed, he TOTALLY freaked out. I asked him why he wanted to be in that class and he said "Why would I tell YOU?" in the snottiest, meanest voice possible, and "Oh I know, you ALWAYS try to do EVERYTHING that YOU think is best" when I tried to explain that I want what's best for him but he needs to tell me what he thinks. Then he proceeded to plug his ears for a record 10 minutes while I sat there silently, not saying anything. Oh man, he was pissed!
I think part of the problem is that it makes him feel good to be in the "smart kids" math class. And I get that, I really do. But at the same time, if you flunk the "smart kids" class then you are really not so smart, are you?? And there is nothing wrong with not being a math genius. Some people are good at math, some people are good at drawing, some people are good at making scrambled eggs.
So anyway, we kind of made a deal with him where we said dude, you need to only be getting 1 or 2 problems wrong on your homework (as opposed to half of the problems wrong, like they have been). And that on his next test he needs to get an A or a B. So hubby and I are going to try to take a less-active role. Not that we won't be here if he has questions, but we aren't going to be looking over his shoulder to make sure he's doing it correctly.
On the positive side, his last test which was last week he got a B+ on, but that was after we had spent a lot of time with him working on the material. We'll see how the next one goes.
I don't like it, but more and more I'm learning that you just have to let kids fail sometimes. And who knows, maybe he will rise to the challenge and pay a little bit better attention in class and be able to stay in this class! :)