Friday, February 02, 2007

The Notebook

No, not the movie, sillies, I'm referring to the communication notebook between home and teacher. I have spoken about it before and how helpful it has been. I encourage all of you, especially if you have difficult time getting information from the teachers/school - for whatever reason - to encourage its use. We don't have it mandated by an IEP plan, we just do it because we don't always have time to chat on the phone each day. Mrs. M writes to me each day, just a blurb or so if it's easy, and a bit longer if it's been a rough one, then I respond with what we've done in response to her entry, and add in if he's having a high/low engine morning, what might have happened at home since coming home from school, if he's frustrated over homework, if he's not feeling well, get the idea. It's an invaluable tool for us.

The notebook is not without its downside, however. Ocassionally, SmallBoy, having had a particularly rough day, will go through the notebook and scratch out (with pencil...LOL) what the teacher had written in the hopes that I won't read it. He'll also forget the notebook - although, I've decided that's not always intentional since he has difficulty remembering to bring home lots of things. Other times, I'll send it back and it won't get to Mrs. M. What particularly gets me, though, are the times when we've had a week of "Great day today," and "Wow! SmallBoy worked himself out of a meltdown and had a fantastic day," and then get one that says how he got upset and refused help and melted because he couldn't understand the assignment, but wouldn't listen when the teacher explained....

I know, we all have them and they're so much fewer and farther between, but it's like we had finally picked up speed and then SLAM!, right into the wall. We work through them, we write our stories, have our discussions, and all comes out in the wash. It seems though, that I have a much more difficult time getting past these than does SmallBoy. I suppose it could be that I see the progress and the great reports and I get this motherly feeling and, perhaps, false sense of security that all is now on the right track to be right with the world and then, when it comes to a halt - or at least a temporary slow-down, it throws MY rhythm off. Perhaps it is because there are SO many other stressors in my life right now - ok, well only a couple, but they're pretty big stressors. Perhaps it is time, like J The Fabulous OT told us last night, that SmallBoy learns how to deal with these things on his own for times when we can't be there to help him out or when no one around him is really quite sure what to say or do to help him when he's so far gone in one of his meltdowns. Perhaps I need to let go. Perhaps I need to start my own notebook to SmallBoy:

2/2/07: Mom had a rough day today. Making lots of phone calls about stuff that gets me frustrated. Had a minor meltdown, but took a big breathe and focused and pulled out of it.

Hey, you know? That sounds like good idea - then HE has some idea of what WE are going through and HE can write back to us:

2/2/07: How about a squish, Mom? Will that bring your engine back to just right? My engine was too high today and it needs to come back to just right, too. Had a good time at the volleyball game (teachers v 8th graders), but had a bad time in Social Studies, or something to that effect. Ya think?

I'd love your feedback on this Parent/Child Communication Notebook idea.


Anonymous said...

do you ever see a cycle of smallboys progress that hits a wall during the full moon? We use the notebook as well with out 7 year old-you can look back and see the 3 weeks of good and then WHAM! 4 days of "what the heck happeneded/" all during the full moon. This past week has been a pisser. crazy I know-but I mentioned this to his para and she said that during the full moon they all notice that a lot of the kids just go nuts.

notebooks are good. but be careful to not let it define your son. I go back and forth with it. I like the info-BUT I try not to dwell on it. School is school and home is home-other kids dont go through that and they have bad days that just are that-bad days. their parents have no idea of their every moment at school and they should'nt. same with our spectrum kids. notebooks are good to a point but living under a microscope is tiring and hard for these kids and sometimes they just need a break.

mommyguilt said...

Thanks anonymous! Definitely a full moon thing...I had forgotten about that. These things do tend to come in cycles with SmallBoy...but then again, that same thing happens to most of US, to, right?

Lora said...

It's a great idea and I have spoken to Griffin's teacher about it and she said that she would "try" to write in it with not much enthusiasm I must add. I am going to get one anyhow because it's like you said before, it is hard to remember everything and it gives me time to process what she has written (if in fact she does write something). I have used the notebook before with Griffin's first teacher he ever had and it was so nice to communicate with her and share information about him and how his days were going. Now that I am not so sure about what's really going on in the classroom it would be so very helpful and reassuring to know when he's having a good day and when he's having difficulties. Thanks for the suggestion, I will go out and buy one tomorrow, put it to use and see what happens. If she doesn't write in it then we will have it added on to the I.E.P. Hope that you are all doing well and that your stressors are not overwhelming. You are a stellar Mommy and I admire all that you do. Oh and I love your music! Your voice is fantastic and the band sounds awesome!!!!

Stacey said...

I love the notebook idea. We've also made photocopies of a tick-list that the teacher can use when in too much of a hurry to write a blurb. It's a list that grades how the kids did in certain targetted areas that I want feedback on (compliance, stimming, behaviours, etc.). We use a rating system. It just gives us a quick-glance idea of how their day went. Love your site!

Stacey said...

Hi Christina,
I would love to send you an email of the sheet I was referring to (it's very simple but it might give you ideas). But am I blind, or is your email not in your profile?

MoiIsInTheHouse said...

We had one of those books. They were great up until about 6th grade, then we didn't need it any more. He used an assignment book after that and the teachers email me.

The administrators would always complain when I would tell the teachers to use one - but the teachers loved it.