Tag Archives: workbooks

Seeing the Problem More Clearly

For much of her later elementary years, my fifth-grade daughter has not enjoyed “school.” While she has always loved hands-on projects and field trips, completing workbook exercises or reading assignments has been a tedious chore both for her and myself.

“Mom,” she would say as I was helping her younger brother, “I don’t get it. I neeeeed heeellllppp!”

“Wait a minute,” I’d reply. “Do what you can, and I’ll help you in just a minute.”

“But I can’t do it!” she’d continue to insist until I gave in. And just as I was in the middle of explaining the math concept, she’d interrupt with “I don’t understand!”

“I didn’t finish yet,” I would answer, trying to keep my cool. And we’d start again. And again. And again. She would fuss, and I’d become frustrated. And so have gone many of our school days for the past two and a half years.

Reading hasn’t been much better. I still have her read aloud to me, and while she knows most of the words and only has to sound out a few, she doesn’t read as much as I would like. And she certainly doesn’t read for pleasure.

But I think we’ve finally found the answer. As it turns out, a recent thorough eye exam revealed that she’s farsighted, and while she could make her eyes focus on her school books, she had to really strain to do so. The result: tired eyes, frequent headaches, and a dislike of reading.

It’s often hard for parents to know when a child needs that extra help, especially if your child isn’t in a regular classroom setting. I remember trying to look at the black board when I was in 9th grade, and squinting very hard to see it. That was my big clue that I needed glasses. But I’m nearsighted, and from what I’ve read, farsightedness is less obvious. Farsighted children tend to make their eyes focus anyway, straining their eyes and sometimes even crossing them to get the job done.

Well, now we know. The struggles I used to credit to my child’s  personality were actually due to poor vision. But now we’re both looking forward to a good second semester. 🙂

First Day of Co-op

y 039aWe joined a co-op again this year for the first time in several years. Today was the first day for my oldest son, John. He had a one-hour class in geography that started at 9:00 am. He didn’t want to go; he doesn’t know many people at the co-op. “But,” I reassured him, “this is going to be good. You’ll see.”

All I had to do was get him ready with his supplies and get him to the class on time. Then I had an hour to wait before I picked him up and headed home again. The rest of the children will start their classes on Monday, so this was to be a good trial run.

Well, it should have been. I remembered reading in an email that he needed to bring a notebook and pen, but it’s been a busy week, month, — okay, summer, and I forgot to look over the list again. John reminded me to do it last night, and when I checked I saw that he needed a workbook too. We had no way to get it in time.

I felt sick inside. He was going to his first class with students he didn’t know, and he’d be the only one without a book. In my panic, I emailed the teacher, asking if she had an extra I could replace later. But that was all I could do. I gathered the rest of the supplies and went to bed, quite discouraged.

I woke up all the kids early this morning, so we could be sure to leave early in case I had to meet with the teacher. I checked my email once more and whew! — there was her note, saying they didn’t need their workbooks today. I took a deep breath, and we headed out the door anyway, just to be sure we’d be on time.

When we arrived at the church where the co-op is held, I didn’t see very many cars — and we weren’t that early. Where was everyone? Then I remembered another email I received earlier in the week giving instructions on where to park. I had briefly read over it at the time, and now I couldn’t remember. We followed another car into a lower lot and tried all the doors. They were all locked.

“Well, we’re getting off to a great start,” John said. All we could do was laugh and keep looking for the entrance. It wasn’t a good start at all — I was disorganized, un-informed, and confused.

But, the good news is, we did start. We found the door, the classroom, the teacher, and he went in for his first class. On Monday, though, I have to get all four to class. Hmmm….