Wednesday, January 19, 2005

the comic book study plan

Fourteen year old son is facing his first round of semester-end exams. He's averaging Bs right now in Science, Socials, Multimedia and CAPP. For most kids that would be good. For Alex it's over the moon wonderful. He is very intelligent, but significant learning disabilities make everything harder for him. Luckily, we keep falling into soft arms with him at schools: excellent principals, great learning resource teachers, and classroom teachers who see him for the amazing and wonderful kid that he is. Everyone has worked hard to help him get to this point. He has worked the hardest.

Anyway, exams are awful for him because of the pressure and the 100% reliance on reading, understanding and writing in order to succeed. In some cases he's taken them orally, but he wants to do it like the other kids so he studies and studies. I have been scribing index-cards for him since grade 6, which seems to work. Study once while you make them, then use them to self-quiz and find out the spots that need work. Throw sets of cards from unit tests into a drawer and pull them out if the same material is covered in a summary exam.

Heading into Grade 9 in September, I made a deal with him. We make study cards for one hour every Sunday afternoon, whether there's a test coming or not, just to stay on top of the material. He can use these for the tests, and also for semester-end exams. If he sticks with the program I will take him down to Hourglass Comics in January and give him some money to buy some comics that he can read during the "cramming" days just before exams. Because of the work he's been doing, there will be no need to cram. When he aces the exams, and people ask him "How'd you do it?" he can reply, "I dunno, I just read comic books." So this weekend we're going to the comic shop.

We've increased the study load to 30 minutes per day to catch up on some material that we didn't capture on our Sunday afternoon cards, and to make time for review, but so far we are sailing smoothly. It feels more like "just show up and it will happen," rather than "OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO STUDY." That's the payoff for me, along with him succeeding, of course. This is actually fun. I look forward to it. He's not stressed, I'm not stressed. We laughed for about 5 minutes the other night over a sentence from one of his texts, "Your stomach is an organ." Gosh, I wish they gave out letter grades for puns. He'd have a 4.0 average.

So there it is. Exams are at the end of the month. He'll do fine. And it's all by reading comics.

Question: How do you make molehills?

mompoet - pretty sure

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