Anna June brings home good grades. But not all children do. In fact, recently, I have been in conversations with moms or relatives of kids who repeated Pre-K, Kindergarten, or First Grade, because they simply were not ready to move up. In one case at a private school, there's an intermediate class between K and 1st for those kids who need a little extra time.
I get it. It is hard to develop socially, physically and academically all at the same time. Most kids do without thinking about it, but some struggle.
In these conversations I realize how ridiculously lucky I am that AJ has such an easy time.
I'm a little worried, frankly, that she has it too easy. I don't want her to be bored. I've talked to her teacher about it, and she says that AJ doesn't seem bored and is certainly not disruptive. Just like her parents before her, she is a joy to have in class.
If she finishes her work early, she gets to play on the class computer or iPad. There's a game she particularly loves and I can tell she rushes through her work to get to play. I can see it in the backwards numbers. I can see it in the empty blanks and the letters left off the ends of words.
I spent some time this weekend making her rewrite the words that she missed or threw a backwards letter in. She had to rewrite the numbers correctly and fill in the blanks, even if she "didn't have to" at school. I am trying to convince her to take the time to get it right instead of just doing the bare minimum - she's obviously capable of it.
Her grades are good - she has straight 100s on her spelling tests, and I haven't seen less than a 90 on any given homework or test that has made it home.
I'm trying to find the balance in letting her be a kid, and goof off and play, and shaping her into being a serious student, which right now (to me) means having her correct mistakes and get the answers right.
Evidently, I haven't been doing a good job about telling her why.
This morning I asked her,"Why is it important go get good grades?"
She thought about it, but was stumped. "To be a better person?" she answered, tentatively.
While trying not to be too hard on myself, I told her that, no, we try to get good grades to show we've learned something.
She pointed out that, technically, if you already know something, you could get good grades to demonstrate that you "know what you need to know," whether or not it was recently learned.
She is right, of course.
We discussed how having good grades is good but does not mean you are a good or a bad person. I asked her what she would do if a friend got a bad grade. "Nothing," she said. I thought that was a decent response, and said that, yes, it was none of her business. At this age, I want her to not worry about the struggling kids, and leave it between them and their teacher and parents.
We'll continue to work on the fact of being good in school does not make someone a good person - it just means that they are good in school.
And I'm sending up a prayer for those kids who are struggling and the parents who don't know what to do - I surely wouldn't. And a prayer of thanks that AJ is doing so well.
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