Putting the Pressure on at Five
I got a bit upset today when Jack didn't get an award at his first grading period awards ceremony (yes, there is such a thing). He got such a rave review from his kindergarten teacher Mrs C. last week that I really thought he'd be up there with his friends getting something for accomplishment or effort but no, he didn't. He got a certificate for 100% attendance which he was very proud of, bless him.
All the worries have now flooded back that I've sent him to kindergarten too soon. He's 9 and 10 months younger than his friends who got those awards today. Is he going to spend all of his school life always trying to catch up and not grasping concepts that older kids can grasp? When we got home I was probably a bit hard on him while he did his homework and I've told him he needs to buckle down a bit more. Sounds a bit harsh doesn't it, for a 5-year-old, but the standard testing at these schools is rigorous to say the least.
One bright spot of the ceremony was sitting next to a wonderful woman who lived miles away in another school district and her son travelled on the school bus to this school at 6.30am every morning. He has cerebral palsy and when he started at school couldn't talk and he sat in a chair and now he's walking unaided and speaking and taking grade-level math and science. When he got his award his mum was clapping and crying and she set me off, of course. Her son was such a bright and happy lad I felt uplifted just watching him. She kept telling me how wonderful the school and the teachers were and how she hopes her son can always attend it (she has to put her name in the lottery every year because she lives so far away). Anyway, she was an amazing lady and I've been thinking about her a lot tonight.
As for Jack, well we'll just have to help him more. Try and integrate school work into all the fun things we do and also limit telly, as that has got a bit obnoxious the last few months. I want him to be happy and to love school but I'm also going to have to make myself be more of a hard-ass when it comes to the academics. It seems so wrong somehow - to be putting that kind of pressure on a five year old. Shouldn't he just be catching frogs and saving the universe?