I wanted to give a little time after (finally) posting Bradley's story last week. However, that story happened 4 - 6 January, over two months ago, and there have been a lot of things to discuss.
I guess the top question is how he ended up doing last semester. The kids had basically two weeks after Christmas, before finals (and yes, that does seem like a crazy way to do it, but talk to the Texas Legislature). When we learned of Bradley's problem, we only had a week until finals, and we had to balance things between him studying for finals and him catching up homework. As I said elsewhere, his mom did work quickly getting his teachers permission to work with me. Most of them were concerned about the problem and were willing to help (one teacher took late homework from him until the end of school, the last day of finals). The problem is that his civics teacher is an... well, let's just say an 'old fashioned' teacher, and that I've had to deal with him before. After some thought, and a check of the grades, we decided to write off civics and concentrate on everything else. ROTC and English were the only classes in which he'd kept up, and he finished those with As. He was able to squeak by his trig class with a B, and brought his Bio 2 up to a mid B. He actually managed to get his Spanish back up over 90. His next to worst grade was in Economics, where he wasn't quite able to get it up to a B (but he did pass with a C). He actually did fine on his Movie and Theater Appreciation (basically a fine arts elective), but about 50% of his grade in that was from two essays and the final.
I did pull a few strings with Mr. Kirk. Since we knew Bradley was going to have to re-take civics, I got Toby to make sure he had a teacher whose style would work better for Bradley.
It's been close to eight weeks now since finals, and Bradley's been doing mostly okay. The problem is, it was about 8 or 9 weeks into the semester before things started to fall apart, and he kept going for a few more weeks through momentum, I guess. Looking at the online grade books, you can watch him deteriorate, but it wasn't all at once, so I can see how it was missed for a while. Unfortunately, just as it didn't fall apart all at once, he hasn't been able to repair everything all at once, either.
This semester, he's taking Bio 2, pre-calculus, Spanish 3, English, ROTC, civics, speech, and creative writing. He's pulled an A in all of them at the end of the first six weeks. However, it's not been without a few lapses.
I want to say it was 25 Jan, when I took Bradley aside. After repeated warnings, his homework folder was still a mess. We sat down, brought it up to standards (again), and then he stood up, dropped his pants and shorts, and took the position for two swats with the medium Lexan. After that, he made a real effort to keep things organized, and came to me a few days later to ask a couple of questions, which seemed to get him over the hump.
That was the second week. I think it was the fourth week - 9 Feb? - that he earned his third strike for work not turned in on time. It turns out that Bradley can take two swats bare from the medium Lexan without too much stress, but three starts pushing his limits. The first two were silent, but he called out on the third one, and he was panting after it. Of course, he finished the six weeks with only one more late paper. Finishing the six weeks reset the calendar, and so far he's turned everything in on time, and his next session (if he gets one) will only be two swats again. I'm being very strict on him right now, but he's still relearning habits, and I think he's also learning new habits that will help him a lot in college.
It's not just homework that's happening over here. I don't know how things are going with his dad right now - his father gave him a kind of half-hearted, politicians apology (I'm sorry if you misunderstood something I said and were offended), but they're not actively having any problems. He and his mom are doing well, and she has apologized for not realizing what was going on and doing more. She's also very supportive of him being here and working hard.
However, his mom has also insisted that, if he's going to be spending all this time over here, that I make him help out. I'm okay with that, and I usually do ask the kids who are over here a lot to earn their keep. It's not like my boys, with assigned chores, but I do ask them to help (with prep or clean up for a meal, and especially if they have a snack) and to make sure they clean up after themselves.
Bradley and I had to have a talk... I want to say it was the end of January, or maybe the first of February. While Bradley is very good about helping with anything he's specifically asked to do, he seems to have a bit of trouble cleaning up after himself, and he has a bad habit of starting a load of laundry, then forgetting about it.
On this particular evening, he'd come over without a change of clothes, so he threw everything but his boxers into the wash, then walked off. First of all, with all the people living here, there are almost always things to wash, so I ask people to not just do a few things, but a full load. I heard the buzzer go off while I was preparing dinner. After dinner, I realized no one had emptied it. Sure enough, it was Bradley's school clothes. I through them in the dryer and went to fetch him.
In my office, I sat on the arm of the couch and put him over my upraised knee. We started out with a punctuated discussion. Question, spank, answer, spank, repeat. We spent two or three minutes talking about how much time he spends here, what his mom had said, what I asked him to do, and how many times we'd talked about doing laundry. After that, I had him lift his hips, and I slid his basketball shorts down. Once they got over his butt, they slid straight for his ankles. This time, I didn't bother with questions, but just lectured - statement, smack, another, smack, smack statement, smack smack. I did that for another minute or so and asked if he understood. He assured me he did. I asked him if he'd been doing what he should. He admitted he hadn't. At that point, he'd had probably 40 or 50 hand smacks in about 4 minutes. I then slid his boxers down and gave him that many more in about that many seconds. He didn't cry, he barely even yelped, but he did squirm and make a little noise. When I let him up, he rubbed, dressed, hugged, but was nearly laughing as he promised to do better.