Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm tired of sugar coating!

Not real sugar coating, mind you.  Sugar is one of my major food groups.  I'm talking about how the schools like to make all the kids feel good about themselves these days.  Even when they do an awful job, they still don't want to make the kids feel bad.  In our school system the letter grade F does not exist.  They've replaced it with a U for unsatisfactory.  I think the term unsatisfactory is rather subjective.  In our house anything less than a B is unsatisfactory.  I don't even like seeing B's come home.  If a child fails, they should just put an F on the page.  Let them feel bad about the grade.  They should.  And if they feel bad about the F, then maybe that will motivate them to try harder next time.  A U is too benign if you ask me.  It's a sugar coated F without the negative connotation.

Madeline is a smart girl.  She's clever and bright.  She's also lazy.  When you factor the laziness in, you can get some disastrous results.  Today she brought home her Friday folder that hasn't been home in nearly a month because of situations revolving around the teacher's absences. Long story short, the teacher has been out for nearly 3 1/2 weeks over the past month because of family medical issues.  Because of these absences, I had no idea that Madeline had checked out for the year.  Imagine my horror when I find that she earned a 59 (that's a U for underachiever or unsatisfactory, choose your preference) on a math test, and a 60 on a reading comprehension (That's superb for a 2nd grader who can read on a 5th grade level, don't you think?).  I just want to bang my head against a wall when I see stuff like this.  Usually it's the stray C that comes home where she decided to skip a page or a few questions.  Today two U's and many C's came home.  The sight of them makes me feel ill.  Every mistake was either the result of her not answering a question, or her just rushing and writing anything so she could be done.  It wasn't like she tried and failed.  She didn't try, yet she knew the right answers. Ugh.

I think the biggest problem is Madeline doesn't care.  She just wants to be a social butterfly. Bryan tells me he was like this as a kid (not caring, not the social butterfly part) and that she'll want to do her best when she gets a little older.  I'm not so sure.

I know I shouldn't take her grades personally, but I look at them as a reflection on me.  It looks like I either don't work with my child at home, or we're just not intelligent people.  It kills me.  One of my main goals when Bryan and I set out to start a family, was to raise intelligent children who were at the top of their class academically.  In theory, we should have produced a smart little geek who is obsessed with academics.  Instead, I have a child who wants to be Little Miss Popular.  What went wrong?

I'll be stressing about these latest grades until the report card comes home on Thursday.  Perhaps someday I'll be able to step back and not feel like my child's grades are a reflection on my parenting.


  1. Appreciate the neccesity of teaching her about when to be social and when to work. However if she is reading significantly above grade level she may be not paying attention because she is bored. Perhaps she could be given special reading projects next school year to keep her focused.

  2. I understand your frustrations. It was these things, and others that made us decided to pull our kids out of school and homeschool them. Of course homeschooling isn't always the answer, but in school the teachers have to teach to the middle. It's was them teaching to the middle that I realized that my children in some subject weren't being challenged enough so they didn't apply themselves. Or in other areas they were being over challenged and thus stop trying because they felt they couldn't do it. I don't really have any advice for you, except that I understand and that you have to be pro-active and do things to help your children and not just think someday they'll out grow it. Yes they may, but it's a good thing to give them exceptions, encouragement, and make them responsible for their actions! :) Take care and God Bless!

  3. can't be of any help here; I had Mr. Social Butterfly with no motivation to do well. I was very happy he passed his classes (even with a D-) to graduate high school. And I was a high B/low A student. eventually some kids get the connection between good grades and future academic success, I can only hope Madeline makes that connection. In the meantime, I think her reading ability is great!!



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