Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fun at the Circus...

So, in an effort to encourage my son to do better in school, I told him if he did good, and I quit getting calls from teachers, I would take him to the circus.

It didn't work.

Yesterday I talked to his teacher for twenty minutes on ways to get him to work. After he's given directions, my son will sit there like a bump on a log, or talk with his friends, or play. The result is the same- he doesn't get his work done. I admire his teacher for all the extra work she's done this year with him, and I agreed yesterday that she needed to stop being so helpful. No more 5 or 10 repeat warnings to get stuff done, no more giving him extra time. She and his reading teacher decided they were not helping him grade-wise. 3rd grade is so much harder than 2nd, and their giving him extra time and stuff was not preparing him for the responsibility the next grade requires.

I agreed with everything she told me. Hubby and I had actually talked about the same things this weekend.

She told me not to be surprised when he started bringing home incompletes and 0's.


As hard as it was to do, I told him he was not going to the circus- he was going to the neighbor's house and I was going to only take his sister. You should have seen the waterworks that created. But I stood firm, even though I felt terrible. He begged and pleaded, but I sent him down the hill.

My daughter LOVES school. She's a little social butterfly. She loves being the helper of the day, and actually came home crying at the beginning of the year because the teacher had not sent home homework. Two children could not be more different. And in her class, she gets good sticks instead of bad. (Sticks are a measurement system they implemented for discipline.)

She knew the circus was coming to town, and has been extra special good so that she could go.

The circus itself is just a dinky little thing, family owned. But they did impress me with a couple of acts. The first lady that came out actually spun in the air BY HER HAIR. If you look really close at the picture, she has her hair wound up in a special bun with a metal hook at the top. That's what they spun her by. I remember being picked up by my hair as a child, and I can't imagine ever wanting to do that again, and certainly not as an adult. They had balancing acts, and a clown act with two little boys that was adorable. They had a dog trick show, and a juggler that kept dropping his burning sticks on the plastic, but otherwise it was cute. In between their acts they hawked flashing toys and junkfood. The final act was a boxing kangaroo, and it was good he was last because he stunk up the whole armory. Overall, though, it was worth the $10.

My son seemed put out when we picked him up, so maybe he understood a little bit what I was trying to express to him by leaving him home. I guess we'll see huh?

Have a good day everybody. It's supposed to be almost 80 here today, so I'm going to till up my garden.


  1. Jennifer, I feel for you right now regarding the issues at school. It's SO hard not to give our kids something, or take something way, but we have to do it sometimes. My son whizzed through school with nary a problem. In fact, he excelled--until his junior year of high school. That's when he met "that girl." You know, the one who's bad news and a parent's worst nightmare. He gave up doing homework or even trying for anything. I felt so fortunate just to get him graduated. Now, the girl is long gone and he sees how he messed up. It scared him when he only made it through by the skin of his teeth. So, maybe he learned a lesson... All we can do is hope. There's always hope. :o)

  2. I'm hoping my son starts seeing 0's and will wise up. I've told him the rest of his class is going to leave him behind, but he just kind of blows it off. If he's anything like my husband, he'll pull it out of his behind at the very last second and scrape by. I'm glad your son straightened out.

  3. Jennifer- your two sound like mine. My (step) son couldn't care less about the grades, reading or any of that. My daughter- the younger of the two, started kindergarten and her first words when she got home the first day was "It's no fair, I didn't get any homework."

    LOL Straightening my stepson up is a trick in and of itself. Sometimes punishments work, like taking away television privileges- and sometimes it takes more extreme measures- like with the lying he was doing- he had done it so many times and always lost his gameboy advance over it. This last time was the last time- he lost it for good.

    May have to try to find your son's "currency" as Dr. Phil would say. Find the thing(s) that are of most value to him and use it to shape the behavior you want from him. If he loves video games, as mine does, use that as the exchange for him to buckle down and be responsible at school and at home. When he does good and keeps it up- he can have it back.

    Hope you find something that works. It's enough to send a mother to tears while she pulls out her hair! {{hugs}}

  4. I do do that. His buttons are tv and Playstation. Games he's lost, until I see his grades coming up. It's gotten to the point that the teacher sends a note home every night to let me know how many sticks he's gotten that day. If a note doesn't come home, I call her. I have the poor woman's number memorized! He only gets to watch tv if I get a note saying he had a good day-no sticks. But we're still having problems.
    And I don't need to pull my hair out, he's already making it fall out.