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Location: Wheatland, California, United States

I'm a mom. I'm a civil servant. I have a sense of humor, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Trials of Being a Teenager

. . . or, how Mom can totally ruin a good feeling.

This past week and a half, Kidlet has been working on a research paper for science. Now, Kidlet isn't the best student in the world, and directions always seem to hamper her creative streak.

This paper, due today, was to be on alternative energy sources. Kidlet chose solar energy. Now, when she started, I set the page up per the teacher's orders. It was to be in "book" format, with 8.5 X 5.5 page dimensions, 1200 words of original text (excluding quotes), 12-pt type, and no fewer than 16 pages of writing, excluding title page and bibliography.

Around 2:00 PM yesterday, Kidlet comes into my room where I'm busy folding all the clothes.

"I'm done! Could you proof read it for me?"

As I sit down in front of the screen, something seems a little off. I check out the number of pages - and she had just enough for the minimum. The teacher indicated he wanted 16 pages, and she had 17 or 18. All we had to do was add in the bibliography, and we should be home free. Right? As I start reading it, Kidlet makes an offhand comment about "14". I didn't hear exactly what she said, but I knew as soon as I heard that number. She used the wrong font.

So, I went in and re-sized everything. As we went through the paper, I could see her heart breaking. It was awful to watch. After I was done, she had 13 or 14 pages. She still had to write more. So, I gave her a few tips on how she could elaborate on a few of the chapters, and let her go at it again.

By the time we were done with the paper, it was almost 8:00 PM. But, it should be okay to hand in today. At this point in time, if she gets a "C", I'll be ecstatic.

I know it's difficult for her to be my daughter. I never had any problems with school. I could write papers that would bring down a forest of trees. I could write short stories and essays with little more than a sentence for inspiration. Most math and science classes were a breeze. Kidlet . . . not so much. She has to struggle for everything, and frankly - I have no clue how to help her. I sit on the sidelines, offering help, but failing to get the concepts through to her. I dread projects like this, because I know there will be yelling, screaming, and tears.

So - if any of you parents or teachers out there have ANY words of wisdom, I would be happy to hear them. Because this child

is too beautiful and sweet to go through life hating school.


Blogger MYSTIC said...

The best advice I can give is this..Remain Calm, no yelling, or threats of any kind. Enjoy the teachable moments spent helping her. You will see the ligthbulb come on in her head when she gets it. Go over it as much as she wants. Make it a Mother daughter time to be rewarded afterward. Take frequent breaks because she can only focus so long.

December 15, 2009 2:54 PM  
Blogger Callie said...

Thank you, Mystic!

December 16, 2009 11:22 AM  
Blogger Slyde said...

that is one of my biggest fears...

right now, at 7, my son loves school, but im dreading the junior high school phase..


December 16, 2009 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Seraphine said...

you sound so much like a loving mother!
and you give the answer yourself: "directions hamper her creative streak."
she sounds like a wonderful girl. she will discover her life on her own. but don't stop helping, she still needs direction and love. with the right tools, and she will build something as beautiful as she is.
perhaps in all this, she is teaching you something too. in fact, i'm sure she is.

December 16, 2009 6:02 PM  

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