Am I overacting?

crazydyz8September 4, 2010

SS8 is starting third grade. Back in second grade we encouraged SS to do extra book reports. DH wanted SS to realize that we are concerned about his education as well and that we are trying to be involved. It didn't take long to realize that SS HATES reading and doing reports (hates would be an understatement). His school year ends in May. At the beginning of May his teacher emailed us and stated that he was behind by 5 book reports and could we please try to help catch him up in the limited time we had him for the remainder of the school year. We did some and the teacher decided to waive the ones he was missing. She did warn us that in 3rd grade he was going to have to read 400 pages a quarter and that the types of books eligible was going to be a drastic change (chapter books only with very limited illustrations). We have previously tried Goosebumps, Magic Tree House, and A to Z mysteries for SS. This year DH came back from Meet the Teacher with the Scholastic Book Order Forms. I decided to pick up extra hours at work for extra money so that I could buy some new and different books for SS.

On Thursday his teacher emailed us that the books were in and she would send them home with SS that night. DH sent BM a text message on Friday at 4:30pm (prior to the 7pm pick up) a reminder to bring the books. She replied that she was only giving them to us if we brought them back when we dropped him off. DH replied that no we were keeping them as we ordered the books (and a Wii game). BM replied and threw a fit stating that she needed those books for his book reports and that if we were keeping them then we need to make sure he does his book reports because he has 400 pages due at the end of the month (school started about 3 weeks ago and he apparently hasn't done any).

DH emailed his teacher asking if she could please look up exactly what we ordered as I forgot to copy the order forms before mailing them in. SS's teacher informed DH that BM gave 4 of the books to the classroom as a donation.

I am PISSED. I worked extra shifts at work to buy him these books and a game to have at our house. And his mom threw a fit when told we were keeping them. She did give DH some of the books when they exchanged last night and SS has been reading the one book that I ordered and seems excited about it for once! Am I overacting that these books should be coming to our house? Or that BM had no right to just give some of the books to the school? I hate asking his teacher for them back, but I ordered them for a reason and that reason was not to give them to the school. And I want to continue to order books but I am afraid of this happening again. We live an hour and a half from the school and only get there once every few months.

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"Am I overacting that these books should be coming to our house? Or that BM had no right to just give some of the books to the school?" Absolutely not. I'm pissed on your behalf. My SS is the same age as yours, and it's also a struggle to get him to willingly read. I just ordered him some books from Amazon and would be absolutely LIVID if BM ended up with them, especially if she gave them away to anybody. SS will not, does not, and can not read when he's there because the TV is on all the time and there is no quiet place for him to go. If he actually could and would read while there I'd be the first to buy all the books he wanted and send them up - but I am not inclined to spend MY money for something that will just end up collecting dust or being thrown away.

If you cannot get to the school to pick them up yourself, try a different approach. Read the listing of suggested books and then buy them from Amazon and have them sent directly to your house. We find tons of kids' books at the thrift store. Half-Price books has kids' books too.

I've come to the conclusion that part of the problem is that the kids' reading abilities now fall far short of allowing them to read the books that would hold their interest. SS loves when WE read more advanced books to him, but he could not do it. Another problem is that with this ridiculous All Children Left Behind standardized testing, the school is receiving money for student reading "fluency" - which means how many words per minute they can read aloud. So SS was being taught that if he got to a word he didn't know, to stop reading, raise his hand and wait until someone told him what that word was, rather than to try to figure it out from the context. ARRRGGGH!

At any rate, I found him a Classic Start version of Tom Sawyer. It's a kid's version; supposed to be for grades 4-7 but SS could read it without much problem. I had him reading it to himself, and explained that if he doesn't know one or two words, just skip them and he'd figure out the general point of the story. It worked fabulously. It's still a great story; it's just abridged with easier words and shorter chapters so he can read it, and it held his interest a lot more than Biscuit the Boring Dog type of banality. So I just ordered him a bunch more of the Classic Start books; now he's on Huck Finn.

What are the custody arrangements? Is it practical that SS can do the book reports while with you or would that mean he spent every waking moment reading? Either way, I'd be disinclined to send the books back - it doesn't sound like BM is attempting to foster any interest in reading so why should they sit there unread?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 2:12PM
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I think BM's behavior was ridiculous!! You have two choices. Let it go and do not order from your ss's class again. Or you or dh could talk to the teacher and let her know that dh and bm are not always on the best of terms and that bm did not check with him before giving away the books. Apologize and ask the teacher if you could have them back since your purpose for ordering them was so ss could have them at your home.

In the future why not take ss to your local library? I know our library allows us to not only check out books (and renew them quite a few times) but also check out movies and video games free of charge.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 2:20PM
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Also my older son HATED to read. Then we started getting him books with tapes or cd's that go with it (from our library). So he follows along in the book as it is being read to him. He seems to be able to get into the books a lot more that way. Over the summer he read the whole Harry Potter series that way and then watched the movies again. He loved it! We have also had him read books before we saw the movies and then been able to have some great conversations about how much movies can differ from the books.

Some people told me that he shouldn't be reading the books with the tapes. My response....its much better than playing video games! And he does read a lot at school and during homework...why not let his reading at home really be for pleasure?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 2:25PM
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Hmmm. I'm of a different opinion. For all the nastiness that ensues between BM and us, the Scholastic books have not been an issue. (I'm surprised.)

If the order goes home with SS on a day he's with BM, she will buy him a book or two.

If it comes home with us, we place the order.

But the books go home with SS, regardless of who paid. IE--if we bought the books, but they come in on a Tues, a night when he is with BM, then the books end up at her house.

And vice versa.

It's never seemed to be a problem because SS is the one getting the books.

Now--the Wii game that you ordered, IMO is a pricer item and a different story! I would insist on getting that.

As far as BM giving the books to the SCHOOL---now THAT would tick me off!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 5:41PM
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During the school year custody arrangements are EOW. Any days off from school that fall before or after our weekend we have him as well. And we have a holiday schedule we follow as well.

I wish SS's reading at home could be for pleasure. But it seems the further along in school he goes, the less that BM is doing the book reports. He does go to the school library once a week and has a 30 minute study hall daily. His teacher has confirmed that he has only turned in 1 report so far and that it was less then 100 pages. She also stated that the rest of the class has either done well over 200 pages or completed all 400 by now.

Mom2, I do take DD to the local library frequently, but it is a very tiny library and has a limited selection. We would have to drive over 20 minutes one way to get to the bigger library that has a decent selection. And its typically hard to take SS there because the only day we can go is Saturday and that is not always feasible. SS has gone to the closer library but comes back with "picture books" because they don't have anything else that interests him.

LH, I wouldn't care if the books stayed there but then the books reports wouldn't get done and we wouldn't have anything here to do book reports with.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Yes I would be FURIOUS over BM giving the books away. What is wrong with her.

btw, my DD didnt take to reading at first. Then, thank god for Harry Potter -- she loved those books.

Is Dad allowed to call son during the week? Could he suggest books that one of you could pick up during week?

My DD loved Nancy Drew books, and they are really well written (IMHO, vocabulary sentence structure etc). Probably only for girls.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 2:16PM
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kk, the Hardy Boys are the male equivalent of Nancy Drew. I used to read my brother's Hardy Boys if I was out of new Nancy Drews. :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 4:53PM
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KK, the custody arrangement doesn't say anything one way or the other regarding phone calls. However, DH has given up being able to have any contact with SS when he is with BM. DH would call on "special occasions- first day of school, losing teeth (she would put comments on facebook and that is how we find out), before big tests, his birthday, holidays. BM would let the phone go to voice mail and DH would leave a message that he just wanted to talk to SS to say whatever. We would never get a call back so he would try the next day and still no luck.

I forgot about Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew. I will have to get one from the library and see if he is interested in those. I love the Boxcar series myself.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 3:42PM
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