Thing 3

Challenges in the Zoot Home.

I’ve spent this week resting to an INTENSE degree. Partly because I was so sore after Saturday and partly because I just have no time to run this week. I had to take time off work on Monday for Wes’s doctor appointment and time off yesterday for my monthly library duties at the kid’s school. That means any free time during the day had to go to work and we had three nights this week with basketball related activities AND I had a book club which had me out until almost 11 one night. (Not the book club I’m in charge of, that one fell through the cracks months ago…this is a book club someone ELSE is in charge of. I didn’t finish the book, but I went for the conversation.) So…all of my free time at night went to watching my favorite TV shows. Some shows I’ll just let build up until I have free time, but not my favorites…they have to be watched the day after they air! IT’S IMPORTANT STUFF…IT CAN NOT WAIT.

So! I’ve been “recovering” this week. I’ve also been “eating all of the food” this week. I’m not being too hard on my 5000 calorie days since I did just complete a pretty awesome 10 week running challenge, but I exhausted my excess burnt calories after my 4th batch of french fries on Monday, so if I don’t nip this in the bud I’ll need another 10 week running challenge just to help me lose the weight I gained back EATING OFF THE FIRST CHALLENGE.


We found out before Christmas that Wes had been taking random AR tests over books he hadn’t even read, and failing them terribly. His percentages are awful and he wasn’t even meeting his “point goal” for the terms which was INSANE because he is a really good reader. SO! We talked a lot about reading and being a responsible test taker and about how doing poorly on a test hurts more than not taking one at all, SO ONLY TEST ON BOOKS YOU’VE READ, DUDE. The first week back he read two higher-level books and told me he aced both AR tests. WOO! Doing better.

But then I looked this week to see how much those 100s helped his percentages and HE LIED TO ME. He didn’t even get half of the questions right. BUT HE READ THOSE BOOKS. I know he did, we talked about them, I listened to him read…WHAT IN THE HELL? I emailed his teacher about it and talked to him AGAIN about A) Lying and B) Taking his time because that was my first thought: He’s just rushing.

This is the kid who has STAR TESTING scores on file at school that test him in the “Needs Immediate Intervention” category in Math and Reading. Now…his teacher did NOT recommend him for any intervention because she knows he does great, but she also pointed out: It took him 12 minutes to take the test. Most kids take 35+. He basically just sat down, answered as fast as he could, and left.

SO! We talked about TAKING OUR TIME. We also talked about how to really think about what you’re reading. I asked him questions about the books he was reading again. And crossed my fingers.

WELL! The last two test? 100%! And I checked to make sure he wasn’t lying! For real! Actual 100%s! WOOT.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 4.48.12 AM

Of course, it sounds like the act of taking the test may have nearly killed him because it was SOOOO BOOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNNGGGGG…but, you know, it’s progress!

I’ve said time and time again – Wes would be the perfect candidate for an atypical learning situation. Homeschooling, or private school. He seems to have a natural ability in math and reading but HOLY CRAP he has no desire to do well nor to even focus. And I have no desire to work with him on any of this BECAUSE I AM BEHIND ON AGENT CARTER, DAMMIT!

So! He’s working on taking his time on tests even though they are SOOOOO BOOOOORRRRRRRINNNNGGGGGGG and I’m working on A) NOT eating all the food in all the land and B) Catching up on my favorite television show. It’s a week of challenges in the Zoot house. We all have a burden to bear.

(Is it bear? Or bare? It’s bear. Right? I’m too lazy to look it up but NOT too lazy to type a whole other paragraph at the end of this entry discussing bear v/s bare. I should teach classes on productivity and effective uses of time.)

4 thoughts on “Challenges in the Zoot Home.”

  1. Sorry, this is long…
    You beat me to it. For a while now I’ve been thinking “Man. Wes would do great with homeschooling!” But then it’s not like you really need a-whole-nother thing on your plate.

    I will say though, that I took my son out of school this year to homeschool and it has been SO MUCH EASIER (for all of us!) than public school was. We only work on school stuff for an hour a day. The rest of the day is just learning through life and playing. The problem would be, how do you keep him busy the rest of the time while you’re working?

    I only suggest it because my son had a lot of anxiety issues before he started school. Then once he started school, they amped up to 11. He got angry at the drop of a hat, and had lots more emotional issues overall. I think that he just wasn’t ready for all of the pressure that they put on kids in school. He may be someday, but he isn’t right now.

    Anyhow, I totally get that you’re not looking to homeschool. It took alot to get me onboard with it myself. Just thought I’d share our story. Feel free to e-mail if you have any questions about our experiences before and after homeschooling. 🙂

  2. Every time I read one of these posts about Wes and tests I think “He’s the argument against these stupid online assessments.” 1) You know he’s doing fine. 2) His teacher knows he’s doing fine. 3) Because he doesn’t feel like taking a test every time he reads a book (who can blame him?), the data shows him as failing. 4) That data triggers all sorts of unneeded conversation and worry and retesting and AARGH. I am really good at efficiency and all I see are time bleeds everywhere!

  3. So much solidarity, sister! My 9 year old did the same AR nonsense last year when he was placed into the gifted program, because he panicked that other kids in his class had read more. So about 10 tests for books he never read, all failing. This year, the whole focus has been on slowing down for tests–he tries to finish as quickly as possible so he can read or do fun things that aren’t tests. I keep reminding him there is no bonus prize for finishing first, in fact, finishing first could hurt his chances of doing well. I think with these kids who are really bright have some inner drive to zoom past the things they don’t find interesting in favor of other things. Just keep following up with him–if he’s results oriented, use the positive results to motivate him toward those behaviors. Hang in there!!

  4. Sorry, when I read this I couldn’t help laughing because my son did the exact same thing in elementary school. He has always read at a very high level (he was tested at a high school level in elementary school) but he is stubborn and if he is forced to read he hates it, so he would just take tests of books he hasn’t read and would do terribly.

Leave a Reply