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sunday, january 28, 2001
her turn


kitten really wants to be in this program at one of area high schools, but like most kids she wants get into it without doing the work. if we lived in the high school's area this would be no problem as the school has a policy of "anyone can try". but she's not so this places new demands on her to be a part of the program and to remain in the program. only 10 kids from each of the high schools in the district (other than the school which has the program) will be selected for the program. no one really knows the selection progress, only that it relies on more than just one test (such as the RAVEN which tests for the GATE - Gifted and Talented Education - program), or one set of grades. this is a good thing as kitten's grades have slipped of late, and in the expected areas: math and sciences. she has until the end of the quarter to get those grades back up. at that time the director of the program will be looking over all the information available and determine which students will go into the program.

we have always had the policy of "you must get a c, you can do better, but doing worse will have consequences". my girls are smart. they can make c's practically without trying. kitten has to work harder in math and science, but she CAN do it. i don't think this is too much to expect of my girls, who really are very smart. both are in GATE, and both can keep up in the work. this past quarter, kitten shocked us with a 'd' and an 'f'. not acceptable. she has until the end of this quarter to get those grades up or lose her computer privileges for the next quarter. and she needs to realize that she has to work on keeping her grades up now. if she does make it into this program, she will be taking ALL honors classes. this is required for students who are being brought in from other schools. if she gets a 'd' she's on notice for the rest of her time in the program. if she gets a second 'd', she's returned to her home school period. the advantages of the program are many: a more family-like atmosphere, college credit up to one year, more responsibility, learning time management, and much much more that will help her throughout her college days and the rest of her life. i am proud that she wants to be in the program (although to be fair to her i would have chosen a college prep program for her regardless, whether this, or GATE, or Advanced Placement), but it is her choice.

but there's the grade problem. there's not a whole heck of a lot i can do about the science, but i can get her working on the math. we have given her one of our college textbooks in algebra. she's been doing algebra for at least 2 years and is still lost. this particular book is one of the best books i have seen in explaining algebraic principles and operations. very easy to read, explain it very well with good, clear examples. she has started working on it from the first chapters and has stated that it is helpful and does explain it better than her teachers have. so we made a deal: she does a section (not a chapter, but a section - each chapter has 6 or more sections to it) of math every night (we do have a couple of exceptions, like chore day), and she won't have to go to summer school.

now i know my kid. SHE was hoping we would keep this agreement entirely verbal and i, with my swiss cheese memory, would forget and she would be off the hook. no math, no summer school. she got a very nasty surprise today when we decided to take a different tactic: a written contract. THAT did not make her happy. so now we have a clearly written agreement, with the rewards and consequences for doing and not doing the extra math clearly written out, signed by kitten, saxy and myself. it places the responsibility squarely on her shoulders. we may remind her, but it is her responsibility to remember and to do it. as we have lightened her daily chore load to give her the extra time to study, if she doesn't do it she does chores. if we make it to summer, not studying loses her computer time the next day. it's all her choice.

i am very proud of my girl, and i know she can do this. but if she chooses not to, it's entirely her own "fault"/decision, not mine - even if she wants to make it mine. she's old enough, its her turn to start making some of her own choices.

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