2004-08-01 - 12:46 p.m.
Katerina and Soren were just picked up by their Dad to go for a Buffalo visit for this whole month of August.
We had time to chat a bit as the kids were loading the car, in order to give the kid update. I had to pass on some important info about Soren who did not pass the VA SOL Writing section. I am disappointed in the teachers more than in Soren, as his report cards from both the NY school and the VA elementary school look just STELLAR! When I got his final VA report card I didn't let him see it initially, but went through each section and asked him to assess himself. I was VERY PROUD of his honest self assement, on which in a rank of 1 to 4 Soren gave himself a few 1s, many 2s and 3s and a few 4s. (1 being Outstanding, 2 preforming well, 3 developing skills, and 4 needing serious help!!! or some language similar in meaning... those are my words not the actual report card language of what each assesment # means.) Soren's teacher on the other hand gave him ALMOST ALL 1s!! I was agast! It appeared she just couldn't be bothered to either teach him a damn thing in the three months he was back in the VA school in her classroom, nor could even take the time to make an honest assement of his REAL skills and weaknesses.
I was just livid.
He had been coming home with blank math papers notated at the top "Soren said he didn't learn this yet" -- and she never took the time to teach him.
But she gave him that 1 in math!! He came home with writing work that was full of horrific spelling, grammer and even punctuation errors. YEt that report card said 1 in writing!! What the HELL?
An assesment test came back that was administered in the Spring and Soren scored VERY LOW in many areas. (Something like he preformed in the lowest 22% of the kids who took the math section.) ON that test he was in the 90 percentile for reading comprehension and somewhere in the 40th percentile in Science. VEry disappointing, but likely accurate.
In the Fall when I first met his teacher I had told her about Soren HONESTLY talking about his strengths and weaknesses. I told her we had been addressing him lying, and on one occasion he had changed the answers on a paper to the correct ones and acted like the teacher had marked the answers wrong in error. The teachers comment was "HE looked like one of those kids"
I swear she wrote him off then and there. Rather than try to be asute and ADDRESS the lying problem, I think she just no longer bothered with Soren at all. I swear he went through MOST of the year with this teacher who spent NO time with him and taught him NOTHING.
So I wasn't too suprised when Soren actually FAILED the writing part of the VA SOLS and just sqeaked by in passing the Math section.
I think the poor kid had two teacher who just wrote him off because in each case they KNEW hw wasn't going to be in their class room long. Soren himself made it worse as HE NEVER can keep him mouth shut about ANYTHING. He had to tell his teacher the first week of school that we'd be moving. Katerina on the other hand didn't tell her teacher we were moving until the LAST week of school. I think that knowledge sadly DOES make a difference in the amount and quality of attention a teacher gives.
After filling in Soren's Dad on his need to work on academics, and on a general update of a few other things (Like Westley is job hunting for full time and if he can't fins something here in VA soon we'll likely once again have to spend some time in CA as it looks like his best opportunity still remains there.... etc... the family update in general of any essentials needed to be told), then Soren and Katerinas Dad shared an update of where he is at. He let me know that three months ago he checked himself into a Re-Hab program for alcohol and substance abuse and to treat his mental illness. He said he has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous and has a mentor.
So that's a positive thing that he is both acknowledging and treating his addictions.
He seems to be doing well and I am sure the kids will have a fine visit with him. Although he's not perfect, I still think it better they spend time with him rather than not, and I don't worry about their welfare as I know Grandmom picks up where her son falls short. (Although she too has her issues, she is very good to her Grandchildren!) WE had the understanding that the kids were not going early in the summer so they could go when their DAD was ready to have them at his own place. He let me know he is not yet moved in and they all will be at Grandmom's the next two nights, and that Katerina and Soren will help him get all moved in. I told him I had told them they are expected to help out just like they do at home! So I am sure they will actually be a huge help to him, and that as always they will spend most of their time in the care of Grandmom. She made an effort to not be an enabler by kicking him out of her house and refusing to take the kids ALL SUMMER, as she is the one who has cared for them. But one month is perhaps more managable... and just MAYBE their DAD really is picking up more of the responsibilty for their care than he has in the past. He always was a very loving and nurturing and good father WHEN WELL and PRESENT. The problem is that his presence, and state of good health have been so seldom!!
So I hope he is noe healthy and responsible and actually sees the kids a lot in a postive way over this month.