Schools and kids…they both can drive me nuts

This week has been a major struggle in our house.

Hunter has been doing so well at school (or so we thought) until the past couple weeks. Homework has been the constant battle for as long as I can remember, but his teachers have always been pretty good about letting us know.

This year, most of his teachers have been on top of it, and I do mean most. Of course everyone forgets from time to time, but for the most part the ones that have taken the time have been wonderful.

I can’t even tell you how much I love his homeroom/language arts teacher. She is wonderful. She understands him and his situations on two huge levels. 1) His need for extra help and reminders and 2) his having step-parents. That last one is huge. He has never had a teacher that is in the same type of situation, that really understands the struggles a child with two families goes through. This has been a wonderful thing for Hunter to have at school.

The issue is this…

When a child with “mild” special needs has a 504 Plan in place, the school must do certain things, as spelled out in the 504. Ours is quite simple, especially compared to others I have seen. Seat Hunter away from distractions, including distracting students. Provide Hunter with extra time on tests, as needed (the state tests are the biggest thing he struggles with). Provide Hunter with the opportunity to move about the classroom (this cuts way down on the fidgeting). Post the daily schedule. Give Hunter a 5 minute notice before changing activities or tasks. Follow up with parents when assignments are missing, or if other issues arise. Be open with weekly parent e-mails (parents send). Monitor assignment completion and provide reminders to Hunter to hand in completed work.

Now, the big ones that we are having a BATTLE with one teachers on is “Be open to weekly parent e-mails, monitor assignment completion and provide reminders to Hunter to hand in completed work and follow up with parents when assignments are missing”. It took three days for this teacher to reply to the e-mails asking what is going on with his grades. Why are assignments not graded and listed and what do we need to know to help him out.

THREE DAYS

As the boy struggles, and has to deal with the consequences of not turning in his homework at home, he is getting no help from this teacher, until our e-mail comes. Only then does she take him aside and ask him for the missing assignments, and give him copies of the missing assignments.

So, my Friday at work was spent talking to the principal (an amazing principal at that) and the 504 Coordinator on the phone. The principal was going to talk to the specific teacher, and remind her that there is a 24 deadline for e-mail returns, and that Hunter has a 504 in place that she must comply with. She legally has too. She has no choice on the matter.

Now, we are going to have to have a meeting at the school, with all his teachers and they are not going be happy, the ones that have been working so hard and one that is messing it all up.

Hunter now has a lot of work on his hands. His 504 is not there to give him a get out of jail free card, but to give him some extra help. He still needs to be responsible for his work, get it done and turn it in. He has a planner that he can list his assignments out on, he just need to do it. One teacher is having him come in right off the bus to write the assignments down and turn in his homework, something that no one has ever been willing to do for him.

Grounding, limitations and lack of trust now haunt us. This is both the school and Hunter. It will take work to build it back, and we have a long road ahead of us.

What do you do to get your boys to get their homework done? Hunter gets home, gets a snack and gets down to work. Nothing else until it is done. Still, he doesn’t always bring it home, and we do not know until a big read MISSING is listed on the parent website. Any tips would be a huge help. We are at the end of ideas, and have taken the tough love approach. We don’t know what else to do.

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