When I clean out the kid's notebooks I take photographs of selected writings and diagrams. I can't keep all their work, but I can keep the pictures. Today it was time to recycle my son's 9th grade world history notes. That's the course for which I wrote an adaptive textbook in world history, similar to the "human geography" text I'm writing now.
He did a ton of work. I hadn't remembered how much he did, but wow, he worked hard. (We worked hard!). He did that work despite a teacher who, like one of his current teachers, struggled with grading special needs students. If he'd felt encouraged, he would have done even more.
I struggle with this kid a lot. Sometimes things get hard -- and I have to find ways for the two of us to just have fun together . In the midst of this struggle I can miss how much he does.
Yeah, I doubt he retained all that much about China's dynasties, but I think some of it's rattling around in his head. More importantly, he developed some more reading and organizational skills. He reads at a 3rd grade level -- but mainstream 3rd graders don't do the work he did.
Today, in the geography homework I made for him, he evaluated flight paths from Minneapolis to Beijing on a world map and a globe and then compared the results to the NWA web site. I swear I saw a light go off. Later I found our globe near his bedroom.
Mainstreaming is very hard, but it's not a bad thing.
 A round of 9 hole golf can go a long way (his sport, not mine). I can't be improving him all the time.