Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Disco Chronicles, part III

*Quick note~ I'm going to my sister's tomorrow in Ohio so I probably won't have a chance to blog. I am planning on blogging while I'm there though, maybe not everyday. Just wanted you to know that I didn't drop off the face of the earth! Lol!*

When we left off yesterday, Sean was homeschooling and gobbling up scout merit badges like they were M&Ms. And we did that for three years. And it was awesome. I wouldn't trade it or do things differently for any amount of money. There's no better way to get to know your kids than to spend 95% of your time with them. Like I said though, it's not for everyone. Mo had gone back to school when she started seventh grade and I will put the reasons and the power struggle with the school in her biography. So we decided to send Sean back for seventh too. It's a highly social age and we thought that it would be good for him. They took him back to school with no problems, of course we'd paved the way the year before with Mo's re-entrance. And there was no problem with him going right into the proper grade because they'd already been shown that my kids were up to speed school wise. He still had the IEP from before so to make the transition easier for him we put it back in place. This meant that he went to a "resource room" for literature and english. The resource teacher fell in love with him. (Not in a Mary Kay Letourno way or anything, just in a Sean's an awesome kid way). She let him come to her room any time he wanted to do homework or work on things. Socially, everyone already knew him because he was "Molly's brother". And once again, he had the most laid back personality ever. He got along with everyone. Although, he does have a very low tolerance for stupid people. Not unintelligent people (that's considered a disability at our house) just people who do or say stupid things. And he doesn't play games. If he likes you, he's the most loyal friend in the world. If he doesn't, he just straight up tells you.

He was doing great in school, even though he still hated going. About mid year the middle school starts gearing up for the science fair. Well we'd been initiated last year with Molly. And she'd actually gotten an honorable mention. She took off on her own project, with a friend. Sean and I searched the internet for something that appealed to him and found..."The Glowing Pickle" experiment. The idea behind it is that salt conducts electricity and since pickles are cooked and stored in salty brine, pickles conduct electricity. So he and his dad built a machine to generate the electricity. It had forks at either end that we stuck the pickle on (those great big suckers). And when you flipped the switch, the pickle glows orange as the electricity arcs through it. It also cooks and smokes and gets gross. Amazingly enough, Sean picked that project because he'd learned about the conduction of electricity and salt through a CSI episode. (The boy can learn through anything). And best of all, that same CSI episode was on the night before the science fair, enabling everyone to understand and be awed by Sean's experiment. He won the science fair!! This formerly homeschooled kid, with the learning disabilities. Take that public school!!!

He also got some awards at the end of the year for academic achievement and made the honor roll every quarter. At the end IEP meeting at the end of seventh grade it was decided that he no longer needed special services or an IEP. I know that this was due in part to the habits and coping mechanisms he'd developed during his homeschooling. So he was now switched to a 408 plan. That means all regular classes the only adjustments made are not counting off for spelling unless it's an actual spelling test and the handwriting issues. Sometime close to the first parent teacher conference that year Mo came home and told me that Sean had become a legend at school. She was attending the High School now since she was a freshman but it's attached to the middle school and one of her classes was in the middle school building. She said as she was walking to class a group of 8th grade girls had stopped her and told her the story. Apparently, during science class, the teacher was talking when Sean's cell phone rang. (Now the school policy is that cell phones must be turned off and placed in your locker. You can check them during lunch time only.) Well, instead of looking sheepish and worrying about it getting taken away, Sean fishes it out of his pocket and answers it!!! When the teacher says "Sean...", he holds up his finger in the universal "give me a minute" sign. The teacher stops talking and Sean finishes his call and puts his cell phone back in his pocket. And nothing happens. Class resumes. WTF?? I'm wondering why I haven't heard from the administration about this. I heard enough from them about Mo. So I get to the parent/teacher conference and approach the science teacher warily. Sean's doing great in science, he's a smart boy, blah blah blah. So, unable to hold my curiosity, I ask about the great cell phone caper. The teacher laughs and says "I know I should have been angry or taken the cell phone away and sent him to the principal, but it's Sean. He's just so unflappable and he looked so serious about the call. I couldn't help it. It was so funny. That's one cool kid you have there." Picture me stunned. Little did I know how much he would embody this persona in the future. Eighth grade passed much the way seventh had, good grades (except in english...still Cs) and no drama. Compared to his sister, this kid was a breeze.

So how did we get back to homeschooling? Well, part of it was on Mo's account. She had opted to come back to homeschooling due to health reasons and what she was finding was the growing incompetence of her teachers. And Sean, while doing well, really hated school. He hated "wasting his time". If they'd just give him his work instead of taking the whole class time to explain it, he could be done in half the time. So if I was going to do one, might as well do two. I guess what really sealed the deal for me was parent teacher conferences that year. I went round to the teachers and talked to them all briefly. There's really only two teachers in the whole school that are worth their pay. One is an english teacher and one a science teacher. The rest? My kids were beginning to run circles around them. This is what I heard from their history teacher~

HT: we just finished a unit on the civil war. Sean could have taught the class.

Me: He really likes history. And especially the civil war. We covered it when I homeschooled him.

HT: Yeah, well thank goodness he's nicer than his sister. He'd wait til after class to correct me. She always just blurts out my mistakes in front of the whole class.

The hell??? What mistakes?? You are the teacher. You should have the facts. My kids should not have to correct you. Although, if they do, I agree it's much more polite to do it in private. See what we were up against?? He further asked if both my kids had always been "history geeks". I responded with "well I guess so. As Molly says, history is easy. It's already happened. All you have to do is memorize it." Did I mention that he was also one of the basketball coaches? Yeah, here's hoping he knew more about basketball than history.

The last installment of the Disco Chronicles next time,


  1. But, SPOT - I CAN'T home school my kids ... I can't afford to. I am scared ... you've already heard my woes regarding Stretch and 1st grade ... *shudders* what am I gonna do??

    Man ... I am not looking forward to this ...

    Have a great visit with your sistah. We'll miss ya. BTW - have you heard from Mark?

  2. I've loved these Chronicles of Sean...he sounds like such a fantastic kid and you've been SuperMom with the homeschooling and all.I was partial to the birthin and the early years (cuz I'm like that) and the Max had some of the same issues with handwriting, English etc which I nipped in the bud with getting him a laptop by the time he hit junior high.
    Looking forward to 'All About Molly'...fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride *said in my very best Bette Davis voice*

  3. I corrected the teachers a lot too. And, I would not back down if I was right. Got in trouble for it a time or too. But, I was right. Not trying to scare you comparing your kid to me. Good job btw.

  4. Lovely chapter....the kids are remarkable. Kudos again for the's a lot
    of work, I'm sure.

    Love the pickle've managed to "homeschool" ME!

  5. I hope you have a good time at your sisters, don't laugh to hard. You will be missed.

    I told my brother of what you were writing about and he wants me to send him your link. Is that okay?

  6. I am love love LOVEing these stories. There's only one more left? That's so sad, I want more.....geez I'm so greedy. =P

  7. I think it's cool that you homeschool. I wouldn't have the patience for it.

    My son goes to the resource room at school and it helps him a lot.

  8. Sean's kickin' butt and takin' names...and as for his low tolerance for certain "stupid" behaviors? I'm loving this kid.

  9. hey...left you an award at my place. the post title is "I <3 me awards...or something like that. can't remember. anyways, pass by when you get back to pick it up.