School Days & Lessons Learned
The last few weeks of school always fly by in just the blink of an eye. It's been a long time since the first day of school last September, but we made it to the finish line. My kids are looking forward to staying home, sleeping in and just enjoying their time off school - whatever that may look like. My kids aren't yet overly concerned with report cards and of course I'm always curious to see how they've done in the grand scheme of all things academic, but mostly I'm interested in seeing the growth they've experienced over the course of the year academically and developmentally. My children attend a amazing school and I truly feel that the teachers there are part of my "village" as they help my husband and I raise our children. Our kids learned a lot this year, but there is something that each of them have learned that I hope stays with them for the rest of their lives.
My youngest learned that multiple drafts can produce excellent work. His class studied rainforest animals this year and each student chose an animal to create a painting of. My son chose a tiger and his first few drafts were very primitive. Imagine a circle body with stick legs, no ears and a smiley face for a face. After each draft his classmates would give him positive feedback, like "I wonder if you could make the tiger's legs thicker" or "I like the size of the tiger's head, but I wonder if the body should be more of an oval shape". After receiving feedback, he would try again and receive feedback on his new drawing. He worked on six separate drafts and his final product is simply beautiful. It actually looks like a tiger and he is proud of what he was able to do. He is only four, but I hope my son remembers that your first try doesn't necessarily have to be your best and that often doing things over or trying again can produce beautiful work.
In grade 1, my middle child struggled with reading. He lacked confidence and I think that created a barrier in his reading progression. We did some extra work at home and he was able to catch up to where he should be. He started off second grade reading many picture books and keeping track to try to get into his teacher's "100 Book Club" where you have to read either 100 books or chapters. For each page of twenty books or chapters they would earn a reward. He got off to a slow start, but eventually he made it and set his sights on the "200 Club" and decided he wanted to give chapter books a try. I was thrilled that such a simple concept as a book club was fostering a love for reading in my child. By the last two weeks of school my son was approaching the "600 Club". There were only a few days left and he still had about twenty chapters to read. He was convinced he would never make it because there wasn't time. I simply told him you'll never know if you don't try. Wouldn't you know it, but that very same day he came home from school and proudly shared that he had made it into the "600 Club" and that he was the only one to make it that far. From this experience I hope my son will remember to never give up on himself or on a goal he hopes to achieve. You'll never know what you can accomplish if you don't bother to try.
I said that my children aren't overly concerned with their report cards, but that is starting to change for my oldest child. She is a natural student and her report card the first two terms were full of great marks - except one. Rather than celebrate her achievements in the rest of her academics she was down on herself for that one mark. I can't really blame her though because she is just like her momma. It was her keyboarding mark and the only way to raise her mark was to meet the word per minute goal that had been set for her grade level. It was frustrating for her to practice, but fall short of the goal time after time. She hated practicing and failing, but she needed to learn that progress doesn't come without practice and hard work. It would be nice to achieve perfection on the first go- around, but life doesn't usually work that way and I hope she remembers that perseverance and hard work pays off in the end.
School is out for summer and there's been many lessons learned. My kids are still young, but that doesn't mean they're too young to learn these important life lessons. Now it's time for them to enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation!