Reflecting back on [personal profile] shadowbat's first year of high school

May. 25th, 2011 01:02 pm
double_mischief: (Default)
[personal profile] double_mischief
Reading back over the last post on [personal profile] shadowbat's school, I'm kind of amazed at how far we've come.

The year wasn't nearly as tough was I was expecting; [personal profile] shadowbat has made leaps and bounds in his ability to adapt to change at speeds that exceed glacial, and this makes me tremendously happy. He's gotten much better at being self-motivated, too. We still have regular tussles about going to bed at a decent hour, and he still relies on me more than I'd like to wake him up in time for his class connects—he's got a daily alarm set on his phone, but on days when he doesn't have to be up quite that early he tends to snooze it to the limit and beyond—but he's been getting his work done and mostly not procrastinating. This is a huge, huge thing, because we've been working so hard to get him to the point of independence before it's time for him to go off to college, and I wasn't entirely sure that we were going to make that deadline.

He still needs to work on a lot of things, including his willingness to ask for help and to try things even if he doesn't think he's going to be adept at them from the start. I think both of these are typical problems that gifted kids have, though—I know I certainly was (*cough*am*cough*) guilty of the latter—but I'd like him to learn ways around some of these mental blocks.

I've been seeing some positive change in his willingness to communicate with people and ask for minor accommodations when he feels he needs them, though, so I have hope. He actually took my advice and emailed his art teacher recently to ask if he could do some of the future painting assignments on the computer instead of with acrylic paints, since a) he ran out of white paint on the last assignment, and b) he's still got residual fine motor skills issues that mean he has better control with a mouse than a paintbrush and working with the latter is really frustrating for him. The fact that he's actually doing the art assignments at all, even though he can't reproduce the images as he sees them in his head, is a huge leap forward. A few years ago he wouldn't have even tried with something like that.

There are other areas where there hasn't been nearly as much progress, though. We're both negotiating some rough territory when it comes to how we interact. I try not to demand that he do things my way, though sometimes it comes down to insisting that he either do so or figure out (right now, not at some nebulous future point, thank you) a way to solve a particular problem on his own; he tends to be a little...static...and happy with the status quo, even when that means things will be problematic for him in the future.

And honestly, I am far from the best example for him when it comes to organization. One of the only regrets I have about where we live is that we're twelve hundred miles from my parents; my mother is a paragon of organization in so many ways and I only picked up on a few of her habits when I was growing up. I'd love for her to be close by and able to work with [personal profile] shadowbat on the kind of organizational skills he's going to need in college and in life. As it is, I can't get him to make a list to save my life, though he does (at least nominally) use his Google calendar to keep track of things. You would think that his OCD would lend itself to organization, right? Well, okay, you'd think my OCD would do the same, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm disorganized to the point of chaos most of the time. *wry grin*

On a more mixed front, he had a negative moment early in the second semester where he let his frustration get the better of him and said some snarky things to his Computer Literacy teacher, who then called me to discuss [personal profile] shadowbat's poor attitude. I assured the teacher that there would be conversations here about acceptable behavior, and while it took an afternoon of arguing and a small explosion of temper (on both sides), I finally got [personal profile] shadowbat to understand why being rude to one's teachers is not acceptable, and he sent an apology email of his own volition.

Anyway, we're in the home stretch when it comes to this school year; he's got an end-of-year test in Geometry next week, and school is out for the summer on June 14, so less than a month to go in his freshman year. It's looking like his grades are going to remain consistent with his first semester: straight As except for Geometry, where he's getting a B. I know he's smart enough to get grades like that, but whether or not he'll put the effort in has always been the question. I guess the answer, for this year at least, is yes.
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July 2011

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