today three of my four kids had their last day of school before their breaks (the oldest was off as of last week). the oldest doesn't go back till september (and i am really enjoying spending time with her!), the second girl goes back july 5, as may my son, and the youngest goes back in a month. my son may be on extended year which will determine when he returns to school. not only did they manage to survive in 4 different schools and our not so great neighborhood, but they started to take wing. all of them.
i do not give my kids much help when it comes to homework. i force them to find the answers themselves. much of the time i don't even tell them where to look. being successful in life requires problem solving skills and being able to find your own answers. i think these things are taught young. and these skills don't improve without practice. and the study, research, timing, and problem solving skills they learn now will greatly affect how they do in college. they are required to get a minimum of a "c" in each and every class, and they have to do it on their own.
this year they all did better than c's. all on their own.
you would not believe the amount of screaming, tears, head banging and hair pulling that went on this year. my oldest is horrible at math. she learned 2 years of math in one year and has been struggling with it ever since. she got a "b" this year. despite fractions, percentages, and equations . . . all in the 7th grade. she was given my college notes (i take VERY good notes) from basic math through college algebra and the easiest college book i have to help. i occasionally helped with the formulas, but usually told her to look for it in one of her resources. like my husband, she feels if it looks different it must be different, even if the same formula applies. but she got through the algebraic nightmare and made a "b". a challenge over come that she can use to defeat other challenges.
the second girl took the gate test last year and failed it. it couldn't have been by much, the girl is too bright. but i think if you miss the testing by even just one point they refuse to let you into the program. so this year she went into odyssey of the mind, a program for those borderline gate kids that helps with the specific skills i mentioned earlier. and this ended up being one of her most outstanding years ever. she surpassed grade levels in every area. her report card should be framed. she also got involved in soccer this year and did very well at it. a smart athlete . . . imagine that! and it's one of MY kids! (i don't have an athletic bone in my body.)
my son, now he's something special. he isn't graded according to "normal" standards, so his reports come in i.e.p.s and comments rather than a report card. and while i receive a report card for him, only the comments section is filled out. he has had a rough year. new class, new teacher, new rues. homework ended up being a secondary concern. but he can read and write his name, follow a story in a book, say his alphabet and numbers, he's learned gender this year, his vocab is up and he recognizes site words. all of these are incredible accomplishments for a child who couldn't talk, dress himself, or much of anything else 3 years ago. i am so proud of my boy.
my youngest. her first year at school. my baby isn't a baby anymore. she also has brought home a report card to be proud of. no trouble spots, on target in every area. she got the main part in the end of the year kindergarten play (which mama had to miss because she had no car *sniff*), and came home with a smile so bright it was blinding. i hope her joy and enthusiasm for school never dim. her mind, her intelligence, are just too bright to waste. she catches on quickly, so i worry she will get bored. we saw a bit of that this year in her mid year testing. her scores dropped a bit, and i am sure it was not that she didn't know the answers but that it was tedious to do it yet AGAIN. we'll just encourage to do her own learning too, taking what she gets in the classroom into new learning situations.
but the most remarkable thing about my kids is that they LOVE school. even if they are sick, even a suggestion that they stay home upset them. the older two get themselves off on their own, with the second child waking me up to get my boy onto his bus. the youngest has come last, and even the remotest suggestion she stay home is met with resistance. they love learning.
and even if they had not made top marks like they did, as long as they had given it their best i would be proud. but as they grow and learn and take flight, a bit of sadness touches my heart too. for it is these same wings that will take them from this safe place we call home out on their own.