Had some drama at home on Friday. Since the exams are next week, I assigned some maths assessments for Lesley-Anne for practice. She did them readily enough but when I marked them, every other answer was wrong due to careless mistakes. Deja vu - has happened before as I described in my previous post on her issues with maths. When I asked her what happened, she turned sullen. Then she burst out, "Because I'm reluctant to do it!"
Ok, I know what happened here. This is not a child being overpushed and stressed (like I said, I don't give out a lot of work and certainly not during regular term time). This is a child who has been READING TOO MUCH OF MY BLOG and starting to wonder if she's a victim of the evil education system and overbearing parents.
Ha! I can't be maneouvered into feeling guilty that easily. I retorted, "Are you saying you got them wrong on purpose because you didn't want to do it?" Stuck. Pause. "No." "Then how can you say you got them wrong because you were reluctant to do it?"
Second attempt at guilt trip. "I wanted to do my own revision." "How?" "I'll learn better by going through my maths files and re-doing the corrrections." "Then why didn't you tell me this before I set you the assignment? If I knew that you had a lesson plan, don't you think I would have worked something out with you? Isn't it more accurate to say that you hate to be wrong so when you realised that you had made so many mistakes, you want to justify your actions and blame something else instead?" Silence. (I know I'm right. Why? Because Lesley-Anne is very much like me when I was young, in fact, I can practically see the wheels turning in her head.)
I must admit that I did yell just a little bit (the sulkiness is something that just sets me off, it instantly pushes my "irritated mum" button). But obviously all the blogging and chatting with you mums did some good as I was very conscious that I shouldn't belittle her or just focus on the mistakes. I explained to her why while it was great she had her own lesson plan, I needed to be assured that it would sufficiently cover all that she needed to know, especially on certain topics that she was weak in.
I asked if she could come up with a specific schedule on how she intended to revise the topics because with her tendency to procrastinate, a vague "I will revise all the topics before the exam next week" is unlikely to be effective. I know this from experience. During one of the holidays, she had to finish a project. She protested against my constant nagging and insisted she could manage on her own. So I requiesed. "Fine," I said. "I'm tired of nagging anyway. You manage your own time and just get it done however you deem fit." Even though I saw that the progress was slow, I said nothing. By the end of the holidays, she realised to her dismay that the project was far from done and burst into a fit of tears. Then it was mummy to the rescue again. So this is not a judgement on her character - it's knowing her strengths and weaknesses and helping her to manage them.
After some discussion, she came up with a comprehensive timetable with details on when she intends to revise what - it was quite impressive actually. For topics that she herself acknowledged she was weaker in, she agreed to let me set a short assignment for practice after she had done her revision. It's a win-win situation, I think. I'm glad she has taken ownership of her studying and so is she. In fact, almost immediately, the sulks disappeared and yesterday, she even asked me chirpily where the maths assessment book was and did the assignment without being told, because it was on her timetable.
It hasn't eliminated the careless mistakes (that would take a miracle, I think) but at least the attitude has improved considerably. Thank you God!!!
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7 months ago