My youngest (currently in the 3rd grade) has been struggling a bit with his school work.
First, he’s the type of kid that prefers to get outside and play more than cuddle up and read or study…so he struggles a lot to sit through lessons and focus (prob. a bit more than the ‘average’ kid, but not so much that we’re willing to put him on medication for it).
Second, he’s the type of kid that processes things internally and a different pace than others (some things way faster, others a bit slower)…still he has lots of confidence in his own conclusions and assumptions, and while I personally love that trait, it does often cause him to falter on ‘traditional school work’.
To add to all of this, many of his ‘tests’ at this level are really 10 question ‘quizzes’…and the grading scale they use requires a 94% for an A…so miss one question and you’re already at a B. Some of his classes only have two or three of these ‘tests’ in a marking period…meaning there is *very* little room for error if getting an A is your goal.
Being that he’s only in the third grade, none of this really bothers him all that much, but it’s starting to really take a toll on my wife (who is also having a whole different set of challenges/battles with our sixth grader)…and that turns out to have a ripple effect throughout the household.
Overall - I’m not really sure what to do about it yet…my wife takes these things very personally (and thinks of it as a reflection on her/our parenting skills)…meanwhile I’m not even sure I understand what the education system is doing these days (the base knowledge is *very* important, but the specifics and what they focus on as well as the way that they go about it all seems very out dated and honestly a bit crazy to me now).
Regardless, I’m exceptionally proud of the person he is so far and do everything I can to encourage his emerging talents and interests. I’m also confident that at some point ‘academics’ will become important to him and he’ll be fine…so I’m very excited for his future (and my chance to have a front row seat for it).
Anyway - no solutions or suggestions around an of this tonight…just some basic rambling and ranting I felt like getting off my chest…
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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