I have an amazing 10yr old son who (not unlike myself) struggles to focus at school. Falling behind on the required busy work allows him time to focus on more important things— making his friends laugh, doodling, people watching, etc.. Things that I can completely relate too, as we are completely related. Both of us know exactly how miserable school can be.
At the request of both his teachers this week, I was invited to a long uncomfortable conversation. Frustrated teachers are nothing new for me, but as a parent this was a first. Several disciplinary actions were offered, but I instead countered with something simple, and fun a design exercise— it's hard to keep dribbble updated.
Could I design a simple worksheet that he could covertly use everyday at school. He would write down notes of what needs to be completed and what was learned. Then, at the end of the day, he would nonchalantly open his binder for his teachers to simply check off red, yellow or green. The last step was crucial— it needed to be quick, painless, and ensure that he wasn't given any unwanted attention by his discerning group of peers.
Sitting across the table from his teachers, I glanced over and caught his eyes peering through the hallway door as his class returned from break. Normally the happiest kid on earth looked like a mirror from 20yrs ago— misery, embarrassment, and total inescapable panic. After school he was prepared for the worst— his dirtbike on craigslist, no after school adventures, or the unimaginable Minecraft purge. Given the choice to participate in my optimistic parental experiment, he agreed whole heartedly.
As I'm sure you've noticed, I drew inspiration from my favorite avant garde notebooks —Field Notes. They are authentic, maybe even official, and could possibly be misconstrued as an exclusive program— avoiding any potential embarrassment.
One week in, and we could not be happier! He is excited to show me his daily workload and progress, as well as good behavior. Feel free to print off the attached image— and let me know if it helps your mini artist as well.
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