Over the past few days I’ve been on mom duty.  Yes, I’m always on mom duty, but sometimes it takes up more time than others.  Lately mom duty has been all about studying and preparing.  My son has four tests this week.  He’s in 8th grade. I realize it’s the end of the year and teachers want to get tests out of the way before the holiday break (because they no no one will do any school work over the break and will likely forget everything once they’re back at school), but four tests (and two quizzes) in one week is a bit much.  We had notice for two of the tests prior to the weekend so we were able to focus on those but didn’t find out about the other two until yesterday.  Giving kids two days to study for two tests when they’ve got other activities is a lot if you ask me.

I don’t baby my kids.  I never have.  The real world is tough and they’re not going to be babied (though it seems that’s happening more and more, but I won’t go down that path in this post), so I believe it’s important to prepare them for the real world.  I’m not a coddler and honestly, wouldn’t even know how to do that if I tried.

I do think it’s important to help a kid when they need help and I felt my son needed help, so I stepped up to the plate.  I’m not sure if it’s hormones or what, but this year has been a struggle for him.  He’s not the smartest kid on the planet, but he is smart and he is in all advanced classes but I think he’s struggling with the extra effort he needs to put in.  And by struggling I mean he doesn’t want to do it.

This is where I come in.  I’ve tried to figure out a way to help him improve his study habits, and it’s not been easy.  My oldest daughter is wicked smart and knew when it was time to hunker down (she may have not done that her freshman year in college, but she learned that lesson quickly).  My other daughter hasn’t been a studier and that’s been a big problem for her, but my son is mostly like my oldest.  He can memorize anything, but now memorizing isn’t enough. He needs to find a way to apply and truly understand what he’s learning.

Of course, being the google queen that I am, I researched and researched ways to help him learn but I got a whole bunch of crap.  Be organized, review, etc.  I know all of that.  I’ve tried to teach him all of that, but so far it’s not working.  He can’t grasp the concept of ‘reviewing for a few minutes each night’ even though EVERY teacher has suggested this.

So needless to say, we had to learn 29 vocabulary words for language arts and a whole butt load of Georgia and US government history.

I took his social studies study guide and used his online book (because they don’t have enough money for actual books anymore) and went through and found every answer.  No, I didn’t give it to him.  I made him go through and find every answer also.  He’s not going to learn if he doesn’t do the work.  I did it also so I could make sure he had the right answers.  What’s the point of doing it and learning it if you’re learning the wrong information?

Once I finished that, I copied all of his worksheets and notes and along with the study guide, made about 100 note cards.  I gave him those to review, which bored him to death.  So I took the note cards and wrote out about 100 questions on individual note cards and 100 answers on another set of note cards.  We laid the answers out on the floor in rows and he took each question and matched it to the answer.  He loved it.  Then we reversed it.  He loved it again.  He busted through it and got every single one right, and even corrected the ones I did wrong (hey, it was a lot to cover in a few hours and I haven’t been in school for a long time!)

We did the same with the vocab cards and he nailed them.  Then I made him use them in sentences and did word association with them, too. His vocab quiz was yesterday and he missed two that he knows of.  I feel like  I failed him.  He missed two words that were similar.  One was nefarious.  The quiz required him to fill in a word in a sentence.  His sentence was about the Grinch being nefarious.  He didn’t believe the Grinch to be evil, which is part of the definition.  I guess technically, the Grinch isn’t, but I really can’t make that argument with the teacher.  Either way, considering he’d had the words for TWO WEEKS and hadn’t touched them, I’m good with missing two.

The social studies test is today.  He knows it all, except possibly the last few amendments to the first 1o on the Bill of Rights.  Have you read those things?  I haven’t in years, but in finding them on the internet, I couldn’t tell you what any of them meant.  He had a ‘cheat sheet’ from class that shortened them into understandable verbiage, but left it at school.  I sure hope he doesn’t blow it with those.  I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out.

He also has a math test.  The kid is in advanced math, and they’re doing algebra.  Waaaayyy past my level of knowledge.  I made it to long division and then went down hill from there.  My husband helped him some and we got him a tutor because my husband travels and I can’t answer any questions that require me to add, subtract, divide or multiply a number with a letter.  X, regardless of what they say, does not have a numeric value in my head.

The next two tests are Spanish and science.  I’m pretty sure he’ll ace those, because he usually does.  I’m pretty sure he’ll ace the government test too.  The vocab quiz would have been a big fat fail because he hates language arts. Who birthed this kid?  How can he hate language arts?  As for math, he’s struggling, but that seems to be the general consensus of all of the kids in that class.

Needless to say, my creativity tanked over the past few days.  Focusing my brain like that has worn this menopausal woman out!  I’m so glad I don’t have to learn things I don’t want to learn anymore.  Give me stuff that interests me any day but the rest, let’s just leave that to the middle schoolers.

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