Saturday, February 2, 2013

Report Card Time Again

Our school district doesn't distribute reports cards until 2nd quarter of the school year. It drives me nuts. The 1st quarter parents meet with teachers to discuss progress. This leaves the perspective of if the child is performing as well as they should be to the teacher and doesn't allow the parent to be able to decide if it meets the parents expectations. I am one of those parents that looks at my children's work whenever they bring it home and stays in frequent contact with teachers but still wants to know what the report card says.

Jacob and Matthew both did very well. Matthew is learning in Spanish and so I expect his grades to be slightly lower due to needing to learn Spanish as well as writing, reading and math. The children in his program eventually catch up academically and I just have to be patient. His teacher told me that he was struggling a little bit due to not having a large enough Spanish vocabulary so we have started working with flashcards and reading more books in Spanish. I have seen steady improvement.

Jacob did better than I expected. I spoke to his teacher about 2 weeks ago. She hadn't started assessments and testing yet but wanted to warn me that his grades might be lower than last year (mostly reading and writing). The district is using new standards that are much more difficult. There was also an article in the paper earlier this year stating that children's report card scores would be lower due to the new standards. I am all for asking more of our children so I don't have a problems with higher standards. His scores actually improved over last year.

I am a strong believer that parents need to have high expectations for their children and be involved in their educations. I don't think parents need to be "tiger parents" and demand perfection but I do think children should be encouraged to do their very best. Whatever their very best is. I know for Jacob that means performing mostly above grade level and anything in reading or math that is not above grade level is something he can work on a little more. That doesn't mean we sit at home and run math drills for hours every night but it means we work on fun math games and have reading and writing time at home. For Matthew, it means working on learning to speak and understand Spanish through fun Spanish programs on the computer, reading Spanish books and working on Spanish flashcards to increase vocabulary.

We work for about 15 minutes at a time about 3 times a week. Pretty much, any night we are home before 8:00 we work on reading or math for a few minutes. That works well for us. I don't force it on nights we have other activities since bedtime here is 8:30 and I don't want the kids to be tired the next day. They won't learn as much if they are tired and that 15 minutes will not have helped.

Education is extremely important in my home. Not only do I want to have the children performing well enough to get into private school later if we want, but they are going to college. It's not a choice. I want them to be able to get in to any school (within reason) they choose and that means having a good educational foundation now. It's my responsibility as a parent to make sure that what we do now will not limit their opportunities in the future. That means getting a good education now so they can use that foundation later.

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