Friday, April 09, 2010

Camp MPS

My son has been invited to attend Camp MPS (Minneapolis Public Schools)....formerly known as summer school. Yep, Lucas' teacher thinks he needs to go to summer school. Her exact comment on the summer school application Lucas brought home yesterday was, "Lucas has made many gains. However, he needs to work on his fine motor (writing, cutting, etc). I think summer school would be a good option for Lucas."

I have to admit that my heart sank into my toes when I saw that summer school "invitation" in his backpack. I knew he had been struggling with writing, but I was hoping that he would be at grade level by the end of the school year. Part of my problem with him attending summer school is the extreme guilt that I feel. I am home with Lucas every night. I know his writing's barely legible. I should be spending more time working on it with him. I should be sitting down with him to practice every single night. That has always been my intention, but then life gets in the way. The twins demand attention...the laundry needs to be folded...things happen. I have neglected Lucas' schoolwork. I feel that most of the blame for him being behind with his writing rests on my head. As is natural when one is feeling guilty, I initially lashed out at the idea of him needing help. My initial gut response was "No way. My son is not going to summer school. I will work with him at home. I will catch him up. He's too smart for summer school!" I refused to admit that Lucas needed help beyond what I could do for him. I'm his mom...shouldn't I be able to fix everything? Especially since I created this problem in the first place? Or if I didn't create it, I let it fester and grow, at the very least. The responsibility is in my lap to "fix" him. Right?

Then Ruanita came home and the voice of reason entered the conversation. Ruanita always hated school as a child. She was an undiagnosed dyslexic and struggled through her early years in school. She attended classes in a trailer outside of the school building, and no one did much to try to help her at all. She was discouraged from attending college and was pushed toward vocational school...told that she would excel in "child care". Ruanita ended up proving all of her detractors wrong. She went on to college and later graduate school. She has a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling and is one of the most brilliant people I know. However, it did not come without a great deal of struggle.

Ruanita forced me to put aside my guilt. My son should not suffer because of my pride. He doesn't have to struggle in school. He is a brilliant little boy. He is a science whiz. He understands science concepts on a level that is years beyond his age. Why in the world would we, as his parents, refuse to afford him every opportunity available to him to excel? If he needs summer school to catch up to his peers, then that is what he will get. He is in the first grade. He doesn't need to start his school career at the back on the pack.

This weekend, Ruanita and I will sit Lucas down and explain to him that he will be attending summer school this year. It lasts from June 28th until July 29th...only five weeks. It is Monday through Thursday, 8:00am until 2:00pm. He'll still have plenty of time to swim and play and enjoy the summer. Lucas will not be happy, I am sure. He's not exactly a lover of school. However, as his parents, we have to do what is right for him...not what is easy. Man...this parenting stuff is not for the feign of heart!


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Ladies! It's hard. And Shannon, don't feel guilty. Remember that he is spending hours in school already, he doesn't want to spend even more time, beyond homework, "working" on his writing. He does need a break at the end of the day just to be a kid. Summer school won't be that bad, and hopefully it will give him the extra time he needs to be at grade level come Fall. You two ladies are amazing mom's and you are right, it's not easy. But the joys far outweigh the struggles. ~Mariah

Angie Rehnelt said...

Hi Shannon, I agree - do not feel guilty. I would like to suggest what I call "learning workbooks" that can be purchased at Target (Kumon brand)& Barnes & Noble. You could specifically get the writing practice ones. I do those with Ashlie frequently to help her get in extra reading and writing practice and she really likes the books. They are basically the same type worksheets she does at school, so she is used to the format. You could even find some the twins would like to do, so you could make "learning time" work for everyone! Good luck!

Shannon Ralph said...

Mariah & Angie--Thanks so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it! It's hard being a parent sometime. There is no manual...nothing to tell you what the "right" thing to do is. I appreciate your insights!!


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