Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blog 348: Just an Ordinary Suburban Stay at Home Mom...

One thing is for certain...
You NEVER want to go toe to toe with me...
Especially where my kid is concerned.

So last week the kidlet was out of school sick for 4 days because of the flu plus the weekend due to an ear and throat infection. Her school has a website where the teachers upload their assignments for all their classes so parents can double check what was assigned from the teachers when the kids say, "I don't have any homework tonight." During her week off, her Honors Math and Science teacher updated his assignments daily, as they are supposed to.. so with the exception of a few handouts, she was able to complete all of his assigned work. Her English and History teacher wasn't so efficient. I received her homework from the school on Friday and she worked on completing most of it over the weekend.

Now let me back track a moment...

Her honors teacher has a program that he and the other teacher share, uploading the kids grades to a private account daily so that parents can follow the kids progress and see missing assignments. He's amazing at uploading EVERYONE'S grades, all 60+ kids every single day. The other teacher? Not so much... I know this because I check her grades, Every.Single.Day. So yesterday I look at her grades and notice not one, not two, not three, but 16 MISSING ASSIGNMENTS in her History class dated February 25th. I fucking lost my damn mind... There is no way, NO WAY - my kid is supposed to simply not turn in that many assignments and I don't get a phone call, a note home, hell, an email! about it. I was pissed.

Now the kidlet has been going to counseling for diagnosis of symptoms of ADD, and sure enough, I confirm today that she does indeed score within the range. Now this is a gifted kid that scores well above average in Math, (like 458 in a range of 350-500,) but just losses things and forgets to turn in assignments all the time. She is extremely bright but has difficulty with focus and inattentiveness. This is spilling over into late nights doing homework, (like 11-11:30pm,) and incomplete assignments. Its affecting her grades and my once straight "A" student has turned into a C,D and F student.

Let me first say that I do not believe in average grades. I know, I know... sometimes average is the best one can do. But I was raised by my parents with the mantra,

"Average kids get average grades, go to average schools and get average jobs and YOU are not average."

I believe that whole-heartedly. This child scored so high on her California Standards Tests in Math they wanted to put her in highly gifted math as opposed to the regular gifted/ magnet math. I declined... one step at a time. It makes since that she has some behavioral issues that are affecting her grades. Her teachers identified her with having some oppositional problems... which I expect as this once star student is now struggling with her grades without understanding why. I sought professional help because it seemed that no matter what I did, how I rewarded her or took away from her, nothing helped bring her grades up.

I hesitate to have my child identified as ADD or rather, ADHD without hyperactivity. I don't want her on drugs that will modify her behavior or mute her creativity, so after receiving this diagnosis today, I started looking at natural remedies and organizational solutions to help her.

But before I could do that, I had to address this problem of the 16 missing assignments. I went to her middle school this afternoon for a mandated Individual Culmination Plan meeting, basically, a group meeting with about 30-40 parents watching a slide show to talk about what our junior high schoolers will require in high school to graduate and attend college. I fully intended to give this annoyance of a teacher the hear-to-and-what-for... but managed to talk with her Math/Science teacher first. He was great! We discussed the ADD diagnosis and he gave me some great advice. He also showed me some assignments that needed to be turned in, which I was aware of due to the SnapGrades program, and we discussed how 12 kids were out today with the same flu she had last week. When I went to talk with her other teacher, I found out that those bulk missing assignments were actually due while she was away... but her T.A. entered them as "F's," instead of "Excused" due to her absence.

Go Figure!

My daughter had the Workbook in her backpack and turned the assignment in right then. Had I not addressed this issue with her teacher, who knows when it would have gotten updated in her records if at all!

I came home and went through her backpack with her pulling out all the makeup work from last week, any missing assignments and today's homework so I could organize them all in order of importance. One of the things I've learned rather quickly is that ADD children need to be given small assignments to do in short time frames, with her, its 20 minute intervals so she can focus for short periods of time. Then she can get up, take a break, get water, use the bathroom... whatever she needs to do. She also needs a lot of help organizing her time so that she gets things done in a timely manner. I have to really be active in her sitting down to do homework and double check it because sometimes she skims the assignment...

I know it has to be weird thinking of a porn star as a mom that actually does the PTA thing. Its like I easily slid from one role to the other without much thought and consideration. But I have to tell you, I love this role more than any other...


  1. I dont think its weird at all actually, but I dont look at performers the same as other people do.

    Im really jealous of your daughter's math scores. Its never been my strong suit.

    And its awesome to see you looking for some alternatives to pills for her treatment. This country has become a "medicate first" country, and speaking as I person who has been on many different experimental drugs for asthma, and the dilantin...medicine just really isnt always the answer.

  2. Math was always my thing too.. I love that she digs Algebra because of the "mystery." :-)

    Yes, alternatives are key. I was recommended to try fish oil, DHA. Next stop, Whole Foods.

  3. To hell with the fact that you're a porn star. You are a MOM first and foremost. That's Job #1. It's good to know that there are Black folks that still care about their children's education.

  4. I love that you are a super full-time mom and a porn star. I think it's wonderful.

    As for the kidlet and the ADD thing. Girl, I don't believe in that. I don't think that there should be an ADD diagnosis for children. They are children and occasionally children get too involved with being children. If you're an adult and you can't focus, then maybe there's a problem.

    And definitely stray from the drugs if possible. I would recommend local organizations that focus on positive reinforcement behavior modification.

  5. I don't think it's weird that you are a mom and porn star, but I admit I didn't think I would see someone talk about motherhood issues when I clicked on this blog.

    I think it's a good thing that instead of just putting your kid on drugs you looked and found away to set up your child's homework so she can get it done

    you may want to check out some books by Thom Hartmann. He's a radio talk show host (who normally talks about politics) but has written a few books on ADD and founded a school for kids with ADD

    he came up the hunter vs farmer theory, which form my understanding is rooted on the ideal that for most of human history our societies were hunter focused and people needed to be able to have thing catch their attention quickly. but we now live in societies that came from framing societies, where we need to be able to focus more on single task.

    the problem isn't really ADD it's that we have a school system that is basically treats all kids the same when it truth kids learn differently and as you have found there are ways to set things up that are more suited for the way you kid to learn and get her work done.

  6. ¿Has leido un libro de Anaïs Nin que se llama "Delta de Venus".
    No te lo pierdas.

    Have you read a book by Anaïs Nin is called "Delta of Venus."
    Do not miss it.

  7. Just saw this. 3 comments. 1) American diagnosis of ADHD is usually dire (scholar google Angold 2000 medication and see what I mean); make sure your daughter wasn't diagnosed by questionnaire as these have a 50% false positive rate 2) Girls with inattentive ADHD (ADD) usually get missed and suffer. Meds, properly prescribed, don't blunt creativity, but impaired concentration does. Have you ever been successfully creative when you couldn't concentrate? 3) If your daughter's maths grades have been falling recently, it won't be to do with ADHD; she'll have had that since before she went to school.