Does everyone reach this inadequate stage?
I watched tv as a young girl, and noticed instances where the parents had to deal with the kids homework, and couldn’t. Growing up, my parents were not able to do half of the math I learned by 5th grade. If you showed my dad fractions, it should have some football gambling angle to it. If you showed them to my mother, it was useless without a cooking book. It helped me doing homework while growing up to keep on track with the knowledge I surpassed my parents during elementary school. I would not be one of those parents that could not help their kids with homework.
By the time 6th grade came, I read historical texts and romances in excess of 400 pages in one day, and retained the knowledge. I jumped into Algebra and Trigonometry in Junior High. I spent 2 years learning German, 1 year learning Russian, and three years learning health, sports medicine, and socialism (psychology) electives. I avoided the physical arts, but could play 3 instruments in the orchestra. During my music career I went from being denied music class in 5th grade, to sneaking in anyway and learned violin. I self taught some basics on the piano, and in 7th grade we lost our only cellist. It took me 4 months to self teach myself cello with my class teacher helping the transition – and by 8th grade we were playing concerts conductorless with me starting as cello, not the first violinist. The habits propelled me into over-achievement syndrome.
I thought I had things all figured out until I gave birth to my one and only daughter, Jordan. She went from counting to five in 4 languages by the time she was 2, to not saying a word. All the knowledge as a Health Unit Coordinator, Truck Driver, Substitute Teacher, Convention Information Assistant, and my loves of Music, Sociology, and European History prepared me for one job as a mother, advocating for my daughter. I battled 5 doctors til a plastic surgeon removed her cyst at 1 ½ yrs old. I fought 9 doctors to prove she didn’t need tubes in her ears, and finally one of the state techs certified “She hears you just fine, she is choosing to ignore you.” I struggled through task after task, meetings, doctors, socialists, state workers and therapists alike. She is worth every fight, every word.
The knowledge that I would never have that moment where I couldn’t help her with her homework was a partial relief, and broke my heart on a daily basis once school started for Jordan. That is, until now. Jordan is in a functional skills class and has a program called the PCI reading program where they are teaching her sign language. Every day they talk about the sign for bath, eat, bed etc. They send home small papers and say “this is the word we are working on this week”. Its great! I can learn the words when she does…wrong. They sent home a paper with sentences using the word time. Oh okay, so I have to look up the sign for time. Is that all she is learning? The teacher corrected me on the phone. “Actually it is not the word, it is those sentences using time. We sign the whole sentence then go over each word in them, all made from the PIC program.”
I realize today Jordan had a leg up on me, and has learned cohesion with her sign language, while I have learned how to count and repeat the ABC’s in sign language with speed. How can I help her with homework if I don’t know how to sign?
Needless to say, I made some calls today and there is a free class in June. I will start it while she goes to summer school. But, it hurt my confidence that I ran into the same place my parents were. By 6th grade my child surpassed what I can do for her in homework, and I feel just as inadequate as my parents must have felt. I had to explain to a deaf person today that I didn’t have the time and money to find a sign language teacher for myself, and that filled me with shame. I should have foresaw this problem, and now it is a mini-crisis.
Another knock in the confidence to go along with only finding 2 readers for my latest manuscript. i took time to write up ada issues for a conference, and received no feedback from the coordinators. I suggested a special event with full detail for the non, and never heard back yet. I feel horrible and can’t seem to be on top of anything lately, and wonder if it is my disabilities I am experiencing, or if I am not at the levels i should be in my adventures of life….