Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

Hello My Loves,

I'm sorry I've been so absent. I've missed you -- missed reading about your lives -- and I feel guilty for not having kept you up to date with everything that's been going on with us. But I've been busy and sick, sick and busy -- the usual.

My Mother and Beau and the cats have been taking up more of my time.

I'm still working on my annual Holiday collage card and will still be sending it out. I wanted to be sure to tell you this so you wouldn't feel cheated for having sent cards without receiving one in return. I'm just a wee bit embarrassed to be sending out cards with pictures of Christmas trees, Santa's, Dreidels and Menorahs in the middle of January, but, oh well.

I've written so many entries but, as usual, haven't had the time to edit and completed them in order to post them. I still want to post my Halloween pictures and the pictures of the fashion show. I want to update my information page on my journal. I'm behind in wishing my journal friends Happy Birthdays. There's always so much to do.

Money continues to be a problem but I took the advice of a numerologist and put the number eight in my wallet and things seem to have been improving since then, heh.

My bladder has been pretty awful and I've been in a lot of pain. I've also been super anxious and stressed. I'm meditating and I can feel the benefits immediately but I am having a very hard time keeping still for any real length of time. I will continue to work on this though.

Beau wants to learn to scuba dive, and wants to get certified. Oh wo/man I am so excited about this. We're going to go to Hawaii over spring break and I'll help him take the course then. I can't wait. It's been over two years since I last dove. I miss the ocean so much -- miss interacting with all that underwater life and beauty.

Anyway, I'll be back soon, with stories, pictures, and my old entries. Feast or famine on so many levels, I guess that's how it has to be with me until I find some way to be in better balance.

The rest of this is about Beau, his schoolwork, and my feelings about education, so feel free to skip over it if you like.

Beau has an incredibly dense reading assignment in his biology class that he needs a lot of help with. I feel so sorry for him because he is trying so hard to do well, but is completely overwhelmed and at sea with the amount of work he has to do. Because of his learning disabilities he has a very hard time reading; he'll read a couple of paragraphs and when the words all blur together for him he'll realize that he's read two paragraphs without comprehending the material. I have to find a good tutor for him, not that our beloved Louise wasn't or isn't a terrific tutor, not at all, he just needs very specific help with reading that is targeted to his particular needs.

In the meantime, like all of the other parents in this one class, I am having to help him reread everything he is reading, and then explain it all to him, which is a serious time drain for me. I don't mind doing it, Lord knows I'll do it for a neighbor and a friend, so of course I'm more than willing to help my own son, but I want him to be self-reliant and this makes me wonder if the material is above their heads, (the kids in his class who I have been speaking with), or if they are behind and should really be up to this level of material. Argh.

Whatever the case, it was a relief to discover last night that I am not the only parent who is having to read this book, (The Fragile Species), along with my child in order to help him understand it. A couple of the kids in Beau's class actually called me to ask for help with their questions. However, it scares me that after all of these years, when Beau had finally become much more responsible and self-reliant when it came to his homework, (when he was younger -- K through 5 -- he would get these ridiculously complex assignments and expect me to do them for him, if I would refuse on principle, he would be one of maybe two kids whose parents hadn't helped and then he'd get a failing grade so, like all the other parents who wanted their kids to get into good middle schools, in order to get into good high schools, in order to get into good colleges, I gave in and helped), he is suddenly turning to me again for more help than he should. It really bothers me when this kind of thing happens in school.

I don't believe in learning like this. I think forcing too much information onto and into a child, or anyone really, does not make for a motivated, educated, inspired person. They have to care about what they are learning and want to learn it. If the material is too dense and dry for them, they aren't going to get it. And this is a fabulous book all about our interconnectedness with all other living species, it addresses AIDS and aging, and speaks to a tremendous need for biological research in order to end disease. I love it, but it is extremely dense and well above their age level. I think this book is easily college level material as most of these essays were written for medical students and doctors. I love what the author has to say, but if the only way that Beau will understand this material is for me to have to read it and then translate the author's concepts and thoughts into language that is more comprehensible to a fifteen year old, then this isn't the right book for these kids at this time, period. And it's too bad because I really do like this man and his writing.

I know that it's a very delicate line between giving too little and too much work. I agree with David Bryan, our brilliant and compassionate Head of School, that learning should be challenging, but not when it begins to stress the kids to this extent, and not when the work they are being given is so complex and so far above their level that they are left without any social time or room to rest. I picked this particular school for this very reason; because I thought their philosophies about eduction and society most closely resembled our own. I didn't pick New Roads because I thought it would be easy, but I didn't pick Harvard Westlake or Brentwood because I did think they would be.

Big weary overwhelmed Mother hugs,


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