So many angles... what's yours?
I'm wrestling with how to deal with the ongoing problem with SD and school. She just started 5th grade and her first week, all was well. By her 3rd week, she had two C's and 2 D's. We were concerned & talked to the teacher, who said the same thing as last year's teacher... SD is out of her seat & talking to others a lot during class and therefore not paying attention. She may or may not understand the lesson if she is talking... some of her work is A's and B''s... but all of her tests are F's. She got 0/100 on her last math test and in science, she got 20/100... but the rest of her assignments are 90+ percent. The test scores and losing points for turning in her work late (she only gets 50 percent credit for late work, yet it's done on time.. she just isn't turning it in) have caused her grades to drop even further this week. She now has an F and three D's. We've called a meeting with her teachers & the Principal. I've arranged for her counselor to meet with her today. DH has sent numerous emails over the last two weeks to BM and all have been ignored. He has no input or involvement whatsoever from BM, even though they have joint legal and she needs to be involved in any decision making. Since she is ignoring his emails and doesn't seem to want to be involved, it is really left up to him to decide and he may have to go to court to sidestep her consent. I'm offering up my insight and he is also relying on the school & counselor to decide how to handle this. I thought I'd ask for any input from here, since there are lots of others in similar situations and some are also educators. The options DH is considering:
1. Getting a private tutor. He isn't sure about that because she does really well on some work, getting A's... so she understands what she is supposed to be doing so he isn't convinced a tutor will be worth the cost.
2. Private school. Again, comprehension isn't the problem but she would get more individualized teaching in a smaller class. He cannot afford this and it would fall on me since he hasn't even been able to collect his $216 in child support from BM, nor anything else. She apparently quit her job because she's pregnant.
3. Putting her back in 4th grade. This is the least likely option, but his philosophy is that if she cannot keep up with the demands in 5th grade, she isn't ready to be promoted to 5th grade and she will just get further behind. This is the one that got her attention the most, she says she will be teased if she is put back in 4th.
We started out the year, putting her in dance classes & swim lessons to encourage her to keep her grades up to play. She wanted to participate in these things, so we thought it was a good incentive. She has missed the last two weeks because her grades have dropped so dramatically & I told her the first week, that if her grades didn't go down, she could go back to doing these things. Her grades dropped way down so she missed last week too. She just doesn't seem to care. DH took her TV out of her room when she got a low score on her spelling test. He gave her a pretest at home and she only missed 1, so she knew the words. She doesn't seem to care about anything... rewards didn't work, taking things hasn't worked, not even the fear of going back to 4th grade. (we only told her that was an option that we are going to discuss with the school, not an empty threat because we don't know how to handle this) It is so frustrating.
My opinions on WHY she is failing... first, I wonder if it's on purpose.
1. Is her mom telling her to fail so she can take DH to court to say we are not doing a good job with her education? That is what her platform was on her last custody request.
2. Is she failing on her own, thinking it will result in her mom getting custody? Her mom has said that if she lives over there, she can help SD with her work and SD will do well.
3. Is she failing for attention? Is she upset that BM has let her down so much.. not coming to get her but sending her grandma to get her.. when she is supposed to be with her mom, she was being left with grandma, hours away from her mom all summer.. when she is in the same town as her mom, she is left with BF's parents (last week, BM was home while BF went to pick up SD when it was time for her to go back with us) so BM isn't really seeing SD when she is supposed to... and now there is a baby on the way. SD says she's excited but it must be hard for her to not have her mom very involved in her life and then have to know her mom is making a new family that she isn't really a part of very much. There is so much going on at BM's house, it's hard to tell what aspects are affecting SD, but all of them probably are:
BF was backing away from his relationship with BM when BM's mom moved to their town. BM's older daughter (a teenager) is now [supposedly] living with them. BM, who was only working part time for minimum wage, wasn't making enough to keep BF happy. He was complaining that he can't afford to support her and her kids (this was during summer when SD was supposed to be there) and he had called off any wedding plans (not sure if he knows BM is still married to her first husband) and THEN she announced she's pregnant and promptly quit her job. BF's DD8 tells her mom that BM quit her job BECAUSE she's pregnant... not high risk, just pregnant. (BM has never held a job for more than a few months) Add to the mix that SD spent most of her summer with grandma, not her mom as she wanted. And add in that BM was telling her all summer that custody was going to change and SD would be going to school over there this year.. and then she saw her grandma and sister move up there but she came back here and went back to the same school where she had told all her friends "so long, i won't be back next year... I'm moving to my mom's"
It is SO damn frustrating! I feel like I've aged so much in the 3 short years my DH and I have been married because of all the stress. I have gained 15-20 lbs and just lost 6 of it... and feeling better about that and relieved the court crap is over until BM pays for the evaluation.. the evaluation that became necessary after she lied her ass off and got SD to lie her ass off to the mediator.
I can tell myself that it's not my kid, not my problem but the reality is that she lives with us and I DO care. SD has a mom that cares when it's convenient for her.. when SHE wants. I guess I need some encouragement to get through this... it's so hard, as a mother, to watch another mom do this to her child.