Hidden Diaper Changing Station in the Living Room - The following is a guest post about an organized diaper changing station from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home. I’m excited to show yo...
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Report cards came today. I really miss the old grading system that we had when I was a kid. It was straightforward, A through F, based mostly on tests and quizzes, or special projects. The report cards my kids get don’t make much sense to me; 1-4 with 4 being the best. I don’t know what it takes to get a 4 because none of my kids ever have. I was a solid A student from Kindergarten right on up through senior year. The only time I didn’t get an A was when a teacher went out of his way to punish my truancy and evil attitude in some roundabout manner. Back then test scores were test scores and no amount of incorrigible behavior could alter them. But now it seems to me that grades are based on opinion. For example I have one child that devours books, all books, books well beyond his grade level... and yet he only got a 3 for reading, and not even for all of reading because now reading is broken down into multiple line items. The same kid has consistent math test scores ranging from 90 to 105, but only got a 3 in math. Because 4 is reserved for those who exceed the standards and are above grade level. I wonder how they test for that. And Masha’s report card, well shit... welcome to “1”s across the board. They may as well have stamped a huge red F on the report. Is this what inclusion looks like? Shouldn’t I just suck it up since I wanted her to be in with everyone else? Shouldn’t she be graded by the same standards? The real problem I have with her report card is that it doesn’t mean anything... it doesn’t tell me anything about how well she is (or is not) learning. Of course she “does not meet Common Core standards—receives support and is significantly below grade level,” but is she learning well? Why does any of this matter to me? Because I used to love looking at my line of A’s and I know just as I got a kick out of that, my oldest son feels bad that he can never seem to get the best grade. When you are doing the best you can, and that is not enough to get you the best grade possible, what does that do to you? In time he will probably begin to believe that he is not capable of getting the best grades. I wonder if that will start to eat away at his desire to put in the effort. I want him to believe in himself, to believe that anything, any profession is possible for him. The ability to store, process, and recall information in this life seems to be one of the keys to being able to make a path for yourself that is satisfying. I want more for my kids than to just earn a living. I want them to find careers that bring them joy and excitement, and challenges. There is no shame in non-skilled jobs, but there also seems to be not much pleasure there either. I want them to be able to have what I had... a career that eventually makes Monday mornings as interesting as Friday nights. Can you get there without the best grades? I’m sure there are ways, but the reality is that racking up top grades in school is likely the fastest way there. Ok, yeah I know... a bunch of really smart guys skipped college and made cool lives for themselves in the tech field. And yeah, I know lots of natural artists made it without college. And I know there are plenty of people who went the college route only to end up wandering through life barely making it. So good grades and college aren’t a guarantee that you will end up making a living at something you love, but mediocre grades and no college are even less likely to lead to a satisfying career. Back to report cards. In my mind they are little harbingers of how hard or how easy life might be for my children. I realize that they are just one facet of growing up, and that there are so many other pieces of the pie of life that lead to being a healthy, successful, and peaceful adult. But still, I miss seeing A’s.