Friday, September 25, 2009

There's no worrying in math!

Two days ago Madeline brought home a timed math quiz that had a note attached. The note explained that since this was the first timed match facts quiz of the year that it would not be counted. Given that my child got 100% on the test, you could say that I was more than a little irritated that it would not be counted. Really, if you get a 100% on something it should be counted.

Today was the second math facts quiz. Madeline has been diligently practicing her math facts all week. She gets a sheet of math facts for homework each night, and I usually have her do one or two more timed tests each night. She can do them within the alloted time or 10 seconds over in any given time trial at home. On our way home from school today Madeline told me that she started to worry that she might not get all the problems done during the alloted time. So because she worried she missed 11 freaking problems. This is one of those things that I find totally unacceptable and downright insulting. Yes, I feel insulted when my child does not work to her capacity. I spend a lot time working with her on school related things so when she fails to attain at least a B, I am incredibly disappointed.

I'm sure I feel this way because I was a competitive student. I needed to get all A's. I'd accept the occasional B, but I was never happy to get one. After all, a B is second best. It's like asking for candy and getting a spoonful of granulated sugar instead. It's just not the same.

I want Madeline to be a straight A student. She's capable of it, but she's just not driven. She told me yesterday that she decided that she's going to get all A's this marking period, but I have my doubts this is possible when she worried herself into a C (at the very best) on a math quiz. Maybe the teacher will decide not to count this math fact quiz as well. Is it wrong to pray that all the other children did poorly, too?

It amazes me how personally I take my child's grades. (I really need to work on this.) I guess I feel like they're a reflection on me, my parenting and my intelligence. I'm sure it's not easy to be the child of two very smart geeks. My parents never put any pressure on me to succeed academically. I'm not sure that they even worried about my grades. I do know that C's were seen as good grades by them (that's not an acceptable grade in our house) and they thought A's and B's were both great.


  1. Perhaps she did badly because she was worried about letting you down. Perhaps she can see how much you want her to succeed and just got worked up about it?

    I wouldn't get so worried about it honestly. I don't have kids, but when I was younger I didn't get straight A's. I got mixes of A's and B's on my final grades. But later in school I was able to graduate college with a 3.9 which was really good. Sometimes it takes kids a while to realize their potential and want to work towards it.

    I mean, at such young of an age, the grades aren't the important part. So long as she's understanding what she's doing and enjoying it, I think she'll want to do well. But if she's forced to do well she may learn to resent school.
    Just my thoughts on it..

  2. She knows that we simply want her to do her best. But I know what she's capable of and I feel let down when she doesn't work to her full potential. Madeline is a very bright kid. She can just be lazy when it comes to school work if she doesn't feel like doing it. Bryan tells me her was like this as a kid. He never had the rabid competitive nature I had when it came to academics.

    I'm always on the sidelines telling Madeline that she can do the work and is totally able to do it well. I didn't stress her out about the math facts test. I just told her that she'd have no problem beating the clock. I reminded her this morning when she mentioned the quiz that she already got a 100 on it last week.

    I always hated timed tests when I was a kid. They totally stressed me out. Especially typing tests. It didn't matter that I could type very fast even as a middle schooler, I still worried that I wouldn't finish in time. I was a chronic worrier about school things from 1st-10th grade. So I get her being worried about not beating the clock, but I'm still bummed that she psyched herself out of an A.

    And Allison, I respectfully disagree that the grades aren't important right now. At our school second grade grades determine whether or not you get invited to the Talented and Gifted Program in third grade. All grades matter. Getting on the classroom honor roll in third grade inspired me to strive to be at the top of my class every year after that.

    I just hope this one bad quiz didn't spoil her chances for the straight A's she decided she wants to get this marking period. She's already working hard to make it a reality.

  3. I think it depends on the kid. With some kids you have to push them a little and with others pushing is absolutely the worst thing you can do. It sounds to me like her intelligence is not being properly tested by these tests. Einstein flunked out in school - a fact often mentioned by homeschoolers.


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