Monday, November 17, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been about oh, thirty years since my last confession....

No lie there! My Catholic upbringing has engrained in me a sense of guilt at all times. In this case however, I think my guilt is quite jusitified!

About a month ago a little brown bag came home from school with a note attached explaining that this was a science project given to the students and they would have a month to complete it. It entailed making a "car" out of the supplied items and then writing a report on it. At the time they were studying Newton's Laws of Motion.

Now, such subject matter is so above Casey right now. I always tend to think that we have Case in regular ed classes such as this particular science class, just to be around typical kids, and to learn how to be a student. And if he comes away with some knowledge, then all the better. His memorization skills are so excellent he actually does well on the written tests, because he memorizes the study guides, which don't veer too far off from the test material. But when it comes to putting the subject matter into practical use, he totally can't grasp it.

So when this project came home, and I read the instructions, I giggled a little sadly to myself, thinking, "There is no way he can do this.". Weeks went by with that stupid little bag laying on his dresser. He of course never touched it because he could read the note attached. He knew it was from school so it wasn't fun. I kept putting off even looking at the stuff.

I considered contacting his science teacher and asking her if there was a modified way to do this for him, but I didn't. I don't have an excuse, I just didn't. Towards the last couple of weeks, I considered pulling out all the stuff and encouraging him to work on it with me and see if little by little something could be accomplished (knowing full well it wouldn't happen that way either). More days passed, with the little brown bag just laying there, taunting me, reminding me of what he's not capable of doing, at least not now.

Maybe that's why I was avoiding it all together. Subconcioulsy I know he is not at a level of intelligence to figure out how to build a car. He's never even had an interest in cars, not even toy cars. He did have an interest in car dealerships and car insurance, but unfortunately, that wouldn't help him in this situation.

So, last night, the night before the project was due, I whined to Bill about it, I whined to Casey about it, I dredded even looking at the stuff inside. I finally poured the contents on the floor, which included film canisters, straws, bamboo sticks, clothes pins, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, and other asundry crap. The instructions said to use whatever you could but didn't have to use all of the items. I sat for around 45 minutes with Casey by my side, chewing on the film cansiter and straws, trying to configure a way to put stuff together to make a car that rolled. Finally I came up with this monstrosity

It rolled! I mean, it rolled. And Casey chewed on one of the film canisters. So, he was involved right?

Then came the report, rather indepth I would say. I won't go into detail but I let Casey type out the cover page with my assistance and then I typed the rest in a Casey like fashion. Bill hovered around trying to encourage me to do things more legit, saying he would explain the Laws of Motion to Case and maybe then help him write the report. "Yeah, good idea" I answered as I printed out my....Casey's report and shoved it in a plastic baggie along with my....his car. Bill is a much better person than I.

So, that's my confession. I did Casey's report basically and I made the damn car. I admit it.

Casey could not and would not have built a car. He would not have been able to! That's a fact. And the report was so detailed, I gotta tell ya, he couldn't have put much into that even with my help. But, now he had a car to take. I think they were going to have a race with their cars, and he would be able to participate. He had a report, and if he had to read it aloud, he had something to read aloud, and he might even understand it a little. Because of these facts, I feel justified in my deception.

I learned a lesson or two from this experience. Number one, don't wait till the night before a project is due to do it-duh. And number two, next time something comes up like this, I really need to touch base with his teacher and ask her to bring it down a notch or twenty, because my ulitmate goal in just about anything he does is to set him up for success and not asking for modifications did not do this.

Now, rehearsing with him to answer if asked "Yes, mom and I worked on it together!" is a whole other confession!


Marla said...

I am sorry but I can't help but smile and giggle reading this. I am sure you are not the only parent who made the car. ;)

I did hate it though when school would send stuff home that was way out of M's league and I would be like, "WTF"? Sometimes I ignored it totally. Terrible! I know! But, sometimes I was lucky just to get M to sleep through the night let alone complete some project for her. You know?

The car looks great by the way. I am sure you learned a whole lot.;)

DJ Kirkby said...

Hah, you made me a kind of 'I am going to be there soon' kind of way...the car that you , I mean Casey made is really cool!

Bonnie said...

Oh my, I needed chastisement! Not humorous approval!

Marla, thanks for knowing what I went through.

dj, always an honor to hear from you as well!

Rebecca said...

Oops, I was going to say this post made me smile too. It was a fun story to read—made me think of Erma Bombeck! I can't find anything for you to feel badly about here, except having a month to do it and waiting until the very last day. Doing it for Casey but with Casey seems logical and completely appropriate to me. And I agree with Marla that there had to have been plenty of other parents doing what you did—but for their typical kids. Do be sure to let us know your, I mean Casey's, grade on the project!

claire p said...

I was so cheared by you blog. My four year old son is in the process of getting an autistic spectrum diognosis. I worry about him being an only child (what happens when I die) and I worry about how he'll cope growing up. Basically I just worry. So much you say rings bells. Thank you.